They are always there when you need them.
To whom are we referring? The committed and selfless men and women of the 12 volunteer fire departments that stand ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to risk their very lives to protect the citizens of Ashe County when an unforeseen emergency happens.
If ever a clearer demonstration was needed about what our volunteers can accomplish, look no further than what happened in Jefferson Tuesday afternoon.
The call went out just after 2:30 p.m. that a home in Jefferson was on fire. Within minutes, dozens of volunteer firefighters arrived in turnout gear prepared to battle the flames. Moments after arriving, using skills developed through the extensive and ongoing training, the firefighters had the flames under control.
Those volunteers showed up at that local family’s home prepared for nearly anything, including serious injury or worse, for only one thing, to extend a helping hand to a neighbor in trouble.
While some folks might scoff that our volunteer firefighters are adrenaline junkies looking for a quick fix when they run into a burning building or respond to a car crash, or worse, we know different.
After covering these emergencies for years, nearly all are compelled by a deep desire to make a difference in their communities.
But the volunteers get more than just the satisfaction of knowing they have helped their fellow neighbor, they also develop a bond of brotherhood.
That sense of profound comradery that is experienced by all men and women when engaged collectively in a struggle - the “I’ve got your six” effect.
That is a powerful emotion when channelled correctly. It can mean the difference between life and death when split second decisions are made. It also creates a bond in the firehouse.
We’d guess that bond of friendship is one of the many reasons volunteers devote the enormous energy it takes to make the commitment to join the fire and rescue department.
It is with these words we would hope that a few of our readers might make the commitment to join their community volunteer fire and rescue department.
They are always looking for volunteers. Their doors are always open to new recruits. They, and us, need your help.
For those interested, in today’s Post there is a list of all the addresses and contact numbers for each volunteer fire department in the county or you can visit www.ashecountygov.com and find the emergency management department; contact information can also be found there.
In closing, we would like to offer a few humble words to the men and women who arrive ready to help when we need it the most.
Thank you so much.