Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A-Z Challenge - V is for Volunteer Fire Departments


Paid firemen are few and far between in rural Appalachia. Each community typically boasts a volunteer fire department made up of local men and women willing to give their time and energy to helping their neighbors.  It comes with some advantages. They are the first to know all the gossip (see the letter "G") which is a commodity around these parts. They get to ride around in a shiny red truck and help with the annual Ramp supper fundraiser (see the letter "R"). Property taxes include a portion that goes to your local volunteer fire department but it's really never enough.

But I think the biggest advantage to volunteering (aside from being an amazing person) is the chance to be as close to a superhero as mountainly possible.  I say this because of a recent incident at the high school where I teach. A transformer blew, knocking out power, and setting off the fire alarms. Because it came from the school and wasn't a scheduled alarm, gossip flew that the high school had blown up. (I kid you not).

Volunteer firemen and women poured through the hallways while we herded the kids out to the football field. There was no fire, but the power was fried. Teachers shepherded students through darkened hallways to retrieve their belongings then we all left for the day. Amidst all this, the firefighters directed traffic with magnum flashlights, spoke into crackling walkie talkies and clomped around the school in big boots.

Once they were given the all clear, a couple of those helmets and emergency vests came off and I realized there were students under there. With just a quick costume change, those high school kids had elevated from one of us to one of them - the heros, come to save the day. Real life super heroes. Or as close as you can get in Appalachia.

Have you ever volunteered as a firefighter? Ever wanted to?


9 comments:

  1. That had to make you so proud when you saw those firefighter students. So many people are convinced that teens are forever up to no good. Believing that is like believing gossip.

    Lucy

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  2. Wow I think it's awesome that some of the school kids were volunteers. :-)

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  3. Hi, nope, never had a desire to fight fires; don't even want to get close to one unless I'm cold. I certainly admire those who do fight them, though. I am not a brave little old lady when it comes to dangerous occupations. :)
    Two cents must have been the price at one time to speak one's mind or to pontificate. Ya' reckon?
    Best regards to you.... I'm on my way to visit a few other bloggers. Workin' my way down the list.
    Ruby aka Grammy

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  4. No, that's not my thing, but it's a cool idea. :D

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  5. Wow, that is one awesome way to teach kids to be responsible, courageous and helpful!

    Besides, firemen... yumm...

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  6. My grandfather was a volunteer fireman for years. Thanks for spotlighting these brave and generous volunteers!

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  7. Firemen are the utmost in heroes. In our rural area, we had volunteer firemen. They were farmers and townsmen who would drop everything and run to the fire. My dad was one. I was so proud of him.

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  8. Hubby started as a volunteer, moved to career and spent 31 years as a firefighter/paramedic.

    My youngest did the volunteer thing through the Eagle Scouts and loved it, great experience for her.

    My uncle was a volunteer in a small Mass town when I was growing up, eventually becoming the chief.

    I honor firefighters with my heart!!

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  9. Good for them. That's a brave thing for a student to take on, and quite a responsibility.

    I had to laugh at the school explosion rumour. :)

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Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'