Volunteer firefighters help us all rest easy

Monday, April 11, 2011

My family and I live in the Farmington area in a small cluster of about 10 homes. Sunday night, March 20, around midnight, our son was outside with the dog when he heard our neighbor Mamie Cochran yelling for help. Her home was on fire! He came in and awakened his Dad and me and told us about the fire. As he was going over there to see what he could do, we called for assistance, but someone else had already reported the fire and help was on the way.

All through the night the Volunteer Fire Departments of our county worked diligently to extinguish the fire and prevent any other structures from going up in smoke. I will not try to name them individually for fear of omitting someone. Each precinct that was represented here that night was so very much appreciated.

Around 3:30 a.m. we decided that the fire was definitely under control and went back to bed. The firefighters were still going strong at that time. I have no idea what time they called it quits and left the scene. They had, indeed, contained the fire to only the one house. Sadly, Mamie and Levi lost their home to the fire and our hearts go out to them.

But the community was saved from the ravages of a fire that could have easily wiped out several families' homes. And for this we are so very grateful. There had been a really gusty wind that night, and that made the task even more difficult for the firefighters.

I was really impressed by the way the operation took place. They were very professional and coordinated in the execution of their duties. One could see that there had been many hours of planning and training by many volunteers who had taken the time from their busy lives and their families in order to keep others safe. To my knowledge, no one was injured in this incident.

The next morning as I was getting dressed for work, I thought of all the firefighters who had worked so hard all through the night to keep me and my family and our community safe. I was exhausted, and all I had done was watch from a safe distance and pray. But these brave and energetic firefighters had worked all night long. Surely they were more exhausted than I was, and they had to go to work also. They aren't paid firefighters, so they have to go to their jobs each day the same as most of us do.

So I want to say a heartfelt "thank you," from not only myself, but also my entire community, to the area Volunteer Fire Departments, the Ambulance Service, the Sheriff's Department, and all our friends and neighbors who showed up and helped in any way. You may think that what you did was a small thing, but to us it was huge. Your care and concern for the welfare of others and your dedication to your profession is to be applauded.

Also, I would like to encourage everyone to be supportive of these Volunteer Fire Departments when they have fundraisers. Their equipment and training come at a high cost that the individual firefighter cannot and should not have to pay. And without their dedication and training, and equipment, there could be no Volunteer Fire Departments and the result of that would prove to be a disaster. To lose your precious mementoes would be painful, but to lose a life would be heartbreaking. I, for one, can sleep a little better knowing that in case of a fire in my neighborhood, help is just a phone call away.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.