SPRINGVILLE — We hear an alarm begin to wail. We watch a fire truck veer around slowed cars, lights’ flashing. We hear about families who are rescued from burning buildings. And then, we go about our business.
Not so, for the firefighters who have dropped everything, to listen to that alarm, drive that truck and rescue those helpless people. As Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito said, during last week’s East Concord Fire Department installation dinner, instead of running away from dangerous and traumatic situations, firefighters run toward them, saying, “What can I do?”
I am not surprised that the members of these departments are as close to one another as they are. After all, they put their lives in each others’ hands, every day. And yet, they are able to shed that solemnity and laugh together, remembering the good – not only the bad – times.
Although the fire installation is a happy event, members also gather to remember and mourn those who have gone on, before them. East Concord dedicated its recent installation to four beloved people, including Patricia Willibey, who passed away last May.
While I did not know Patricia, I could tell that she was loved, not only by her family, but by the members of this fire department, who were not embarrassed to shed a tear or share a special memory. Not only is Patricia’s husband a captain for the fire department, but her son is an Explorer officer, reflecting the Willibeys’ evident dedication to service.
So many families have similar stories. So many people spend years, serving their communities, never knowing, from day to day, what they will be called upon to do.
As a community, we should do all that we can to give back, to these service men and women. This fall, Concord residents will be asked to vote, to increase the length of the fire department’s service program, from 20 – 30 years. I encourage all eligible voters to support their firefighters and vote “yes” on this proposition.
More information about that endeavor will soon be printed in the Springville Journal.