There are some groups in the Pepper that I intend to honor in my blog. The firefighters are the first of those groups. In Culpeper the Fire Department is totally volunteer from the chief to the youngest member. I find myself amazed that so many people would give so much time and effort for their community and do it all just for the knowledge that they have consistently made a difference and made Culpeper a safer place.
This is how the volunteer department works: Each of the firefighters carries a pager. When a call comes in to the station that requires a response, all of the volunteers are beeped and everyone that is able rushes to the station. Their goal is to get a truck out within eight minutes of receiving the call. That they are generally able to do that is impressive.
I am not sure what ticks in the heads and hearts of these people that makes them willing to endanger their lives if necessary, but I am sure glad they do it.
My first stop at the Davis Street station found them in full alarm and waiting for enough fire fighters to get a truck out. Men and women were hurrying into the station. Most did not have time to properly find places to park and so they just parked where they could.
Tommy Ross had stopped by the station to say some goodbyes when the alarm came in. It was his last day. The next day he went "inactive." Tommy has been a volunteer for forty four years. He drove the truck one last time. I am glad that I was there to record that event.
Bruce Stark hails from New York. Some of the others said that he keeps things hopping at the station.
John Hamilton is a Junior Member. I found that volunteers can begin at age 16. Here is before and after. Rushing in to the station first and later wearing his gear.
Here is the most important man in the station, Kenny Mills. I know that he had better things to do than to let me take his picture, but he was a good sport. He has been a volunteer firefighter for "well over forty years." He told me it "is in his blood."
Joey Perryman is at the wheel here as they rush to an emergency. He told me that he doesn't much like having his picture taken. However, I was told that he is very important because he is the lieutenant and a career volunteer. I hope he doesn't mind that I have included him.
This young lady is Melissa Kratochvil. It turns out that she reads my blogs!!! Yeah! She has been a fire fighter for two years now. I took a picture of her way deep in the bowels of the fire truck just before it pulled out, but her eyes were closed. Dang! I had to have a shot of her, but I have to admit that I missed the action one. Melissa took my picture on the old fire engine and provided names and then double checked names for this posting. Thanks! She is a third generation firefighter. Her dad has served 31 years so far. Her grandfather started this family tradition.
Dwayne Jefferies chatted with me as the others headed out. He was not going that day and gave me a lot of good information. He is a landscapper and a volunteer "fighter." He explained to me that he could fight from outside of a building, but in order to enter a burning building you have to be a certified fire fighter. He has been a volunteer for eleven years and enjoys it. I really appreciate his insights.
Jonathan Hamilton is a junior member of the department and also participates in MCJROTC in school. He looks great in the uniform, doesn't he?
Brandon Graham is another junior member who comes from a family where volunteer firefighting is a tradition. His father, Terry is the Second Assistant Chief and his grandfather was a career firefighter in Fairfax County.
Jordan just moved from being a junior member to senior member. Congratulations! He plans on being a career firefighter.
I think this guy is a good one to end with. He is Wayne Green and has forty four years of firefighting under his belt. He served at the Brandy Station station (hmmm that is kind of a cool repitition), Fairfax County and Culpeper. In addition he is a full time trainer for fire and rescue.
I asked Wayne why he does it. He told me that he wants to help people and enjoys the commraderie with the firefighters and EMTs. He further noted that there is never a dull moment and that you never know what to expect. He thought for a moment then said, "these are great people to work with."
I am going to end on that note. I want to acknowledge that I am aware that there are several other stations, but my blog concentrates on the Town of Culpeper.
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