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Volunteer heroes

Halifax County has experienced a rash of fires over the past few days, more so than usual it seems, even though this is the time of the year when everyone is cranking up the woodheaters, electric space heaters and furnaces as the temperatures dip.

This past week as we reported on a rash of blazes, I realized how grateful and thankful this community should be for all those who volunteer to serve in the 12 fire departments in our county. The large number of fires reported in Halifax County recently only reminds me how fortunate we are to have them.

These unselfish men and women have pledged to leave the safety of their homes in a moment’s notice, to place themselves in harm’s way to help their friends, neighbors and other residents of their communities.

Volunteer fire department members are exactly that… volunteers. They give of their time and effort to train to fight different types of fires in any environment or situation. They must learn to deal with whatever perils they may encounter in a fire in order to save lives and possessions. 

Volunteer firefighters learn first-aid in order to help the injured. They learn to operate fire apparatus, tools and equipment in order to perform their duties better. They also constantly train to keep their skills honed to a fine edge.

And what benefits do they receive for their efforts? Most of the time, a simple “thank you” is all they receive, and for most, it is appreciated and enough.

These caring, unselfish community servants many times go without reward for their efforts. We too often take them for granted, but stop and think about it, this county’s residents would be in a world of hurt if they weren’t here and willing to respond at each tone.

Thank yous are greatly appreciated, but these volunteer firefighters need our financial support too. 

Because they are generally self-sustaining, county volunteer fire departments hold special events to raise funds to provide for their needs throughout the year. 

Events such as the North Halifax VFD Annual Marathon, Liberty VFD Annual Fall Jubilee, Scottsburg VFD-sponsored Fourth of July Celebration and Haunted House, Virgilina VFD-sponsored Virgilina Summerfest, Cluster Springs VFD’s annual $10,000 raffle and other such events raise the much-needed funds that enable the local fire departments to provide their services to the communities of the county. 

Triangle VFD has its Haunted Trail, Midway has its Mud Bog, and Halifax has its Catfish Tournament.

Over the years, the various fire departments have continued to cook stews, hold raffles, sponsor steak dinners, hold breakfast events, sponsor professional wrestling, solicit door-to-door and hold other events to raise funds. 

We need to support our fire departments by attending their events and participating in the activities they sponsor because fire equipment and training does not come cheap.

Our local volunteer fire departments make our homes and communities safer for all of us. So next time you see your volunteer firefighters somewhere out in the community at a restaurant, church, or wherever, take time to say “thank you.”

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to say these two little words, but they mean so very much.

And when that tone goes off signaling another fire somewhere, whisper a prayer for their safety too.

And that goes for all law enforcement officers in our community too. We have the utmost respect for the men and women of law enforcement in our community who put their lives on the line each and every day. 

We cannot say enough about what they mean to our county and towns. 

Sounds like a future column to me.