Be careful what you offer to do because fate sometimes has a way of making us cash the checks our mouths write.
That happened Sunday when a large garage and house fire on Broadway forced every paid and volunteer firefighter in Augusta to respond to the call.
The annual Volunteer Firefighters Banquet was held Saturday night. During that banquet, Major Ray Marbut of the Augusta Public Safety Department told those in attendance about how proud he was of his active volunteer firefighters in Augusta.
“These guys are committed to their community,” Marbut said. “They are low maintenance. They don’t need recognition or thank yous. They put other people’s problems before their own.”
Volunteer Firefighter President Andy Hall said it didn’t matter if it was 10 degrees at 3 a.m. with ice forming as water is sprayed on the fire or 100 degrees at a hay fire where dozens of bails have to be broken and extinguished, he can count on all of the volunteers to be there.
On Sunday, when many people were enjoying the AFC Championship game or time outside with their families on a beautiful day, Augusta’s volunteer firefighters were on the scene of a fire.
Major Marbut said Saturday night that they would be there when they were needed. Sunday evening they proved him right. They wouldn’t get anything from being there – except the satisfaction of knowing that the victims were safe, the property was saved and none of the neighbors were affected.
But they were there.
From early evening until long after the sun had set, firefighters were on the scene making sure the fire was out and no longer posed a threat to the city.
Whether it is guys like Allen Bennington who has been a volunteer for 15 years, the retirees who trained and inspired today’s volunteers or the junior firefighters who will one day be the ones running toward the buildings that other people run away from, this is a group whose focus is truly on serving the community.
They don’t do it for recognition or gratitude, but they earn it.
Kent Bush is the publisher of The Augusta Daily Gazette, The El Dorado Times, and The Andover American newspapers. He can be reached at:email@example.com.