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…]