The Few, The Proud, the Volunteers

fire chiefSome volunteers are drawn to civic duty.

We are all part of this global village, and we all must do our part. It’s good. It’s noble.

These are people we all count on to keep the world turning. We’re glad they do it. But this past weekend, I wandered a room at the Villa Roma, camera in hand, shooting photos of members of the Hortonville Fire Department as they celebrated their group’s 100th anniversary.

They laughed. They joked.

They slapped each other hard on the back and wrapped their arms round one another in giant bear hugs.

Their attendance wasn’t compulsory. Their camaraderie wasn’t forced. Their love of their department, of their duty, wasn’t imbued with a sense of fulfilling an obligation. It was true, strong, steadfast.

It was real.

These men and women may have once chosen the fire service because they felt it was the right thing to do, that it was good to give back. Now? Now it is their passion. Now it is a part of them.

How do I know?

Because I knew almost every man and woman in the room. Some I grew up with. Some I’ve watched grow up. Some have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Because I could see it on their faces and hear it in their voices.

Because through the laughter, there were tears.

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Because some people have been doing this for 30, 40, 50 years. And they’re not done. Not even close.

Volunteerism like that isn’t something you can force people into. It’s not something that we can train our kids to do. It’s something you find once you start to give, when you realize that all this time you’re getting back. If only more people would take the time to give… they might just find out how much they’ll receive.


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  1. […] not always easy being a volunteer in a small town. A smaller population means a smaller pool of volunteers to pick from. A smaller pool of volunteers […]

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