May 17, 2006
As Albemarle County continues to grow, so does the need for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnell. Fire officials say they are always looking for willing and able volunteers to join their forces. This week is fire and EMS appreciation week and their need now is very specific.
"Pretty much from the first ride-along I was hooked," said Robert Knight.
Knight has been a volunteer with the Seminole Trail Fire Department for two years. He says, it gives him a chance to help not only others, but himself.
"It gives me more of a confidence boost actually, I think. That's one of the things that's a byproduct of training," he said.
The Albemarle County Fire Department is looking for more people like Knight. They are actively recruiting volunteers, especially to man the new Hollymead Station.
"We're recruiting folks. We have been, and will continue to do it until the station opens and then we will continue beyond that...There is a continuing need for volunteers," said Captain Jason Nauman.
The station is set to open in the middle of 2007. Fire officials say the need is becoming pressing because preparation and training take about six months. They say all you need to give is your time.
"They just have to have a willingness to serve their community and expect very little in return other than the satisfaction of helping others," Captain Nauman said.
However some volunteers say they benefit from the experience as much as the community they support.
"There's a lot of good people. You get to help people occasionally and it is a fun activity, a fun job," said Antoni Szachowicz.
Every station differs about the amount of time you need to give, but it usually at least 12 hours a week.
If you are interested in joining the Albemarle County Fire Department, you can log onto their website at www.acfirerescue.org or call (434) 296-5825.