To Our Volunteer Firefighters, Thank You

Published 6:06 pm Thursday, December 19, 2013

Looking as far back into my attic of memories as I can, my mind recalls no other November and December that so vigorously illustrate how much we depend on area volunteer firefighters than the last handful of weeks.

And how dedicated those firefighters truly are.

The rash of wildfires earlier this fall has been followed by what seems an absolute epidemic of house fires across our coverage area of Buckingham, Cumberland, Farmville and Prince Edward.

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Fire after fire, these selfless volunteers—no, they don’t do this for the money, benefits and commercial endorsement opportunities—stopped what they were doing, went out in often lousy weather conditions at always inconvenient times and risked their lives.

They got up from the table.

Got out of bed.

Broke a loved one’s embrace.

Turned off the football game.

Left work.

Left home.

Got up and left whatever it was they had been doing, and went to fight a fire.

Only hours later—bone weary, courting dehydration—did they go back home, back to work or back to their loved ones or to the football game that was long over.

We don’t say ‘Thank You’ enough to these public servants. So, thank you, thank each and every one of you.

We wish you a fire-free Merry Christmas and are thankful for the $480,000 state grant won by the Town of Farmville to construct a highly sophisticated burn building for your training.

Built to resemble a typical two-story residence, the facility will provide realistic training conditions—heat and smoke. “We can change smoke patterns, and the amount of smoke we have in the building to heavy, heavy smoke, and then a considerable amount of heat,” Farmville Fire Department Assistant Chief Dean Farmer told us earlier this year. “So it is very realistic to being in a house.”

New firefighters are required by the state to enter and experience a burn building six times during their training so that when they are pulled by flames from their personal and professional lives they can safely volunteer to risk those lives.

‘Thank you’ hardly seems enough.