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Letter from the Editor – Choosing to serve

  • Charles County,St Mary's County,Calvert County
  • By

North Beach Volunteer Fire Department members
Hollywood, MD - What seems to exclusively happen in other communities almost happened in ours Saturday morning, March 18. Two volunteer firefighters in Calvert County sustained serious injuries when the tanker they were riding in blew a tire and flipped over. Fortunately, the men are OK now. The immediate concern demonstrated by the community, however, spoke volumes of the high esteem citizens have for all volunteers--everyone of these unselfish men and women.

A former Calvert County commissioner—David Hale of Owings—put it best on his Facebook page the following day. “Dunkirk VFD is our family's local fire and rescue department. There are so many people who live in the U.S., the State of Maryland and right here in Calvert County that have no idea just how dependent we all are on the V part of the name. If you or a loved one get in an accident, if your house catches fire, if you have a heart attack then a volunteer is going to show up to save that life or save that house. These people have a full-time job somewhere else and then choose to serve us because of their calling to take care of others. Show these people respect and treat them well. Someday you or someone you care about will need them.”

Calvert has Maryland’s last remaining all-volunteer system. While Charles and St. Mary’s, along with the southern areas of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel do have some professionals assimilated in their services, the forces providing fire, rescue and emergency medical services are mostly volunteers in our region. TheBayNet.com staff writer Joy Shrum has chronicled the concerns nationwide and locally of the declining numbers of such volunteers in two recent stories. The situation could reach a crisis level sooner than we think if the trend can’t be reversed.

Local volunteer companies are lynchpins of communities—as much a part of the social and cultural landscape as post offices, libraries and yes, schools. They are as much a part of public safety as police departments. And yet, these worker bees take home not a nickel. It’s not enough to just say thank you. Supporting the companies by attending fundraisers—everything from concerts, carnivals, car shows, suppers, crab feasts, and craft fairs—help keep the these companies in operation. While all these events are great, it does often create even more work for the same volunteers. Writing a personal check to your hometown VFD or rescue squad would be even better. They shouldn’t have to carry around a boot at a busy intersection begging motorists for spare change.

Even more valuable than your money, however, would be your time. Perpetuation of a great service honors the heroes of the past and present in the very best of ways.

We pray for the safety of all our local volunteers, today and every day.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the management of TheBayNet.com

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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