From my house, if the wind is quiet, I can hear the sirens from all three local fire departments. They all sound at noon – at slightly different times – and individually when there is a fire, calling the volunteers. If for some reason the local volunteer ambulance squad is going to be a little slow getting to a call, our fire squad dispatches a fire truck (because it has an oxygen mask and a volunteer trained in basic first aid).
Twice I have been the beneficiary of this service. Once, while burning some junk wood at a firewood landing, the wind took the fire into my field. It was 2400 feet uphill from the road, and the volunteers came carrying water on their backs. Another time, when my heart went into arrhythmia, the Pierrepont Fire Chief (once a kid in the 4H club I was involved in) arrived in a firetruck and calmly put an oxygen mask on me as we waited for the ambulance.
This morning as the blizzard was beginning, I heard a siren. Whether it was Colton or Pierrepont, I couldn’t say for sure. I am always thankful it is not for us, I hope that it is something very minor, and I feel gratitude for those good neighbors who dedicate themselves to fighting fires and saving lives.
When we disparage those who voted for the current president, we need to remember that most – if not all – of these people who give so much of their time and effort to protect us and keep us safe probably voted for him. They try to do what they believe is the right thing. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Except that there aren’t very many of “us” on the volunteer fire department rosters.