Guest column: A visit to the Medford Volunteer Fire Department

Robin Biloski

Robin Biloski

Oak Ridgers have a first-rate fire department funded through our tax dollars. So I realized as the newly elected chairperson for the Anderson County Fire Commission (and the first commission chair from Oak Ridge), I needed to educate myself in the workings of our volunteer fire departments. I was pleased after my first meeting; the volunteers at Medford quickly invited me to come out for a visit. What a valuable educational process I encountered in my visit.

The Medford community is located between Lake City and Clinton on Route 25W. These dedicated folks meet every Thursday evening to discuss relevant issues, do “training” on equipment, and check trucks. This volunteer crew has about 33 members, not including their Junior Fire volunteers. I was quite impressed that in order to be part of the Junior Crew, you must maintain a certain grade point average. I learned some have been volunteers for over 40 years, and the camaraderie they all share for helping their community, pride in all they do on very limited funds, and love of God which guides them through their dedication.

They appreciate the $20,000 donation county government gives them yearly and try to fill in voids for possible grants that might come along, but still embark on other fundraisers just to stay afloat in their service: concession of food sales at events, “Boot Drives,” and their famous Chili Supper/Auction, which I attended Feb. 22. Those men and women served over 500 people a fabulous meal and gathered items for an auction for desperately needed funds. It was certainly something to behold! They can count me in to be there every year as what fun I had meeting all the great folks in that part of Anderson County! [Read more…]

Guest column: Family donates van to Emory Valley Center

Emory Valley Center Van Donation

Pictured above are, from left, David Samuels, Amy Long, and Robin Biloski. (Submitted photo)

The Samuels family of Oak Ridge opened up their hearts in a very big way to Emory Valley Center recently by donating a handicapped accessible van to the center. I had the opportunity to sit and talk to David Samuels, son of Garland and Marie Samuels, who donated the vehicle, and he provided me this great story.

“The van was bought by my dad for my mom, Marie, and used in her later years. We were all very familiar with the outreach of EVC, as my sister Jane was a former service recepient at EVC years ago. My mom advocated for those with intellectual disabilities; she served on the Board of ARC from the late 1980s through the early 1990s. In fact, she was chosen as the ARC Volunteer of the Year twice in the 1990s. Helping people who needed us most was just a part of our family culture growing up.

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Guest column: Emory Valley Center enhances lives

Robin Biloski

Robin Biloski

What is Emory Valley Center?

For many of us, it is just some “buildings” located on Emory Valley Road, in the east side of Oak Ridge. We know generally that it was formed years ago to help “handicapped” people. We recognize it as a busy place with cars coming in and out, and driving around our community with the EVC logo on them.

We know children and adults and many Oak Ridge “seniors” share building space for their daily activities. But, it is much more.

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