First, it represents the spirit of volunteerism that remains one of the positive traditions of the fire and emergency services.
Firefighters, career and volunteer, often spend time helping their communities in many other ways; by reading to children, serving as mentors, coaching sports teams, participating in faith-based activities, and too many others to list.
Second, it illustrates the importance of community engagement for fire departments of all sizes and types. With the constant press of budgets, staffing issues, emergency calls, and other organizational factors, it is all too easy to forget the value of active participation in the overall life of the communities we serve.
Finally, from my own experience, it feels good! A couple years ago I became a book buddy at a local school; that one hour per week, although sometimes difficult to find in my schedule, is unquestionably one of the most personally rewarding aspects of my life and career.
Give it a try and find out for yourself...
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.
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