WAYNESBORO, Pa. - While many are enjoying their holiday off, volunteers at the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department are carrying on with business as usual.
“If all the volunteers were taking a Thanksgiving Day holiday and decided not to respond, if there was a fire call, there would be very slim pickings here in Waynesboro as well as everywhere around us,” said Firefighter Craig Myers, Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department.
Myers has been a volunteer and career firefighter for more than 30 years, and although it's thankless, he still does it.
“We’re not here for people to thank us. We're not expecting people to thank us,” explained Myers.
But, he said the job has become harder.
“States have put lots of stipulations on the requirements volunteers should have to ride the fire trucks,” said Myers. “When you're looking at $800,000 to a million dollars, that’s an awful lot of bingos…”
Volunteer firefighters now require hundreds of hours of training, and even the simplest gear carries a price tag of several thousand dollars.
Many volunteers, like Tyler Shank, do double duty as volunteer and full-time firefighters at other stations, leaving them with little room for extra tasks.
“You take a firefighter, expect him to run 20 calls a week, plus work a full-time job, plus some part-time job, then ask him to work a bingo every Saturday, a bingo on Tuesday, go to company meetings and fundraising meetings...it's a lot to put on one person,” said Shank.
“The municipalities are the ones that have to take the brunt if firetrucks don’t get on the road and ambulances don’t respond. These guys the volunteers. They raise their own money,” said Myers.
For the holidays, these brave volunteers and others across the country aren't asking for much.
“Just support your fire departments. No matter if you're in Waynesboro or wherever else you live, support your local fire departments,” requested Shank.
The Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department is currently in need of administrative staff and fundraising help as well as volunteer firefighters.