by Terry Rogers
On Sunday, August 19, Ellendale Volunteer Fire Company members will be serving pancakes, eggs, bacon, scrapple, sausage and hash browns in order to raise money for a life member in need of financial assistance. Aaron Moore, a member of the company, says that his colleague has spent at least 20 years in active service to the company.
“He became ill this past spring and, after our ambulance took him to the hospital, it was determined he would need to have surgery,” Moore explained. “He spent several days in intensive care as well. The firefighter is self-employed, so as many small business owners can sympathize, the unexpected medical expenses coupled with the loss of his income has caused some stress. Since this firefighter has contributed so much of his time to the community and surrounding communities we assist, we are hoping we can get some support from the public to help them overcome these expenses.”
The breakfast will be held at the fire company, located on Main Street in Ellendale, from 7 AM until 11 AM. Tickets are $8 for adults. Children ages 6 to 12 are $4 while those under 6 eat free. Tickets will be available in advance by stopping in at the Ellendale station or the Lincoln City station located at 8751 North Old State Road in Lincoln. Tickets can also be reserved by calling 302-422-7500 and they will also be available at the door.
“This benefit will help one of our members get back on their feet,” Moore said. “So few people are volunteering anymore, being able to keep the ones we have available to respond is a big issue. Of course, if your community can come together and help one of the ladies or gentlemen that are active keep pace when a major medical issue or injury comes up, instead of them needing to get a second job and decrease how much time they have to respond to emergencies, it not only helps your local fire company and the firefighter involved, it may potentially help you and your family as well.”
Moore pointed out that even people who live outside of Ellendale benefit from the actions of volunteers. Calls for service are up everywhere and the traditional boundary lines are becoming blurred as membership among volunteer fire companies decreases and companies must assist each other more often.
“From 7 PM Saturday until 7 PM Sunday, our ambulances answered seven emergency calls,” Moore said. “Three were in Georgetown and one was in Greenwood. It’s not that those companies are doing anything wrong, but lower Delaware has an aging population that requires more medical care. At the same time, the number of people under 40 who are volunteering is not coming close to keeping pace.”
Like all volunteer firefighters, Moore says that serving in the fire company is an extremely rewarding experience. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can visit the company website at www.evfd75.com/ap.cfm to get started. There is a basic overview of the application process but questions can be answered by any member or with a phone call to the station.
“Some of the biggest barriers to entry start right away,” Moore explained. “You have to get a background check done by the Delaware State Police and you need a physical from a doctor. The background checks are a state mandate and the physical is to protect the prospective member and ourselves. The time to find out you have a heart condition is not when you are on the roof of a burning building or slogging through the woods fire digging a fire line.”
According to Moore, there are some common misconceptions about what may disqualify someone from volunteering as a firefighter. He pointed out that there are amputee firefighters who have their own proponent organization. These firefighters work as active firefighters in volunteer and career fire departments around the world. Some members have asthma, heart problems and diabetes, none of which stop them from providing a service, Moore said.
“Working shift work?” Moore continued. “That’s actually fantastic as we need more people around during the day. Don’t think you’re interested in firefighting but think you might like the medical field? Perfect, we’ll pay for your EMT training, the ambulance is called at four times the rate of fire trucks. Bilingual? We are all in need of dozens of folks who can speak a second language. Never want to get on a fire truck or ambulance but have experience in bookkeeping, financial planning, fundraising, secretarial work or building construction? The fire companies need you. We’re doing more than ever with fewer people than we have had in a long time. Helping us to plan how to get to the next level and freeing up time for others to respond is invaluable. If you’re willing to put in the time, we’ll help you get through the process.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can speak to members at the breakfast as well to learn more about positions available with the local fire companies. Those that live in other fire department areas can receive information about who to contact in their area about volunteering as well.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.