To all of you who are still waiting for a copy of Footprints in the Dew I am working hard to get the book into print. Stay tuned.
Welcome back. In the past I’ve written about the importance of volunteers and the great service they provide to organizations throughout our community. These dedicated people donate their time saving thousands of dollars in salary and benefit costs which makes it possible for many not-for-profits to survive.
One volunteer group that I have never mentioned and that seldom gets its due unless you suddenly need them began in Rome in 6 A.D. You may not know it but your local part-time or on call volunteer firefighters usually work at other jobs when they are not responding to fires, accident scenes or health emergencies. These men and women spend hundreds of hours training in fire suppression, first aid and lifesaving. They also learn how to repair equipment and keep it at the ready which can take hours after they respond to a call. This maintenance which frequently occurs at rural fire stations is as important as the response to the call itself.
After watching our local team work an out of control fire this past weekend that threatened several homes, I think that these fearless people should be considered heroes to all of us who live in rural areas and depend on them, That said I am hoping that some of you might like to join this noble group so here’s the pitch:
First of all make sure you’re ready to commit. This is serious stuff and taking on this type of responsibility isn’t for everyone. It’s dangerous and requires long hours of training and preparation. There is an age requirement and you have to pass both a background check and a physical fitness test. If you think it might be for you, contact your local rural fire department for screening. Then get ready for the 110 N.F.P.A. certified course that all volunteer fire fighters must take. After completing the course many people decide to pursue a career in either firefighting or as an E.M.T. so volunteering is a good place to start.
If hazardous materials, arson, public safety, civil defense and disaster relief interest you, this may be your calling. If it is you will be joining a much larger group of volunteers not only in the United States but also Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and many other countries where people depend on their V.F.D. So next time you get the chance thank a fireman or better yet send them a check.
I’ll end this week with the inspiring history of some of our fellow Americans from World War II which you may have heard of:
James Stewart, Actor, Bomber Pilot and General.
Ernest Borgnine, Gunner’s Mate on the destroyer USS Lamberton, who served ten years and then re-enlisted in 1941 to fight the Japanese.
Kirk Douglas who served on a U.S. Navy sub chaser and was wounded in action.
Dale Robertson, a Tank Commander under General Patton and twice wounded in action.
Lee Marvin, a U.S. Marines sniper, wounded in action and buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to Joe Louis.
Art Carney, served in the U.S. Army and was wounded on D Day in Normandy resulting in a limp he had for the rest of his life.
George Kennedy enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor and served for sixteen years.
James Arness was an infantry man in the Army and was severely wounded in Italy.
Don Knotts fought with the Army in the Pacific theater.
Raymond Burr served with the U.S. Army and was shot in the stomach at Okinawa.
John Wayne volunteered three times to three different branches but was considered unfit due to pre-existing injuries.
Audie Murphy, America’s most decorated soldier, who served in the U.S. Army.
These are just a few of the famous people who could have chosen a much different path during World War II but decided to fight for our country instead.
Before I go I want to thank all our service men and women for all they’ve done and will do.
Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road….