Editorial: Help all our volunteer firefighters

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 06:43 PM

No football games are scheduled.

Better weather is in the forecast.

The remaining pivotal factor will be us, what we’re going to do with our nights this weekend. In Vance County, about 30,000 live outside the Henderson city limits. Thousands more are in the Tri-County not far away.

Hopefully, many will have the seventh annual Henderson-Vance County Firemen’s National Truck & Tractor Pull in sight either Friday night, Saturday night or both.

Back in 2007, the inaugural event started a late-summer tradition and a solid source of fundraising. There’s a cost to putting on the event, but all the proceeds will benefit the county’s volunteer fire departments in Bearpond, Cokesbury, Drewry, Epsom, Hicksboro, Kittrell, Townsville and Watkins, and the Vance County Rescue Squad.

A year ago, we lamented with the volunteer firefighters about rotten luck. Friday’s activities were up against all four nearby public school football teams playing at home. Saturday was a deluge of rain.

As a result, the firefighters missed out on some $25,000 to $30,000.

And since they’re sharing that pot of money, it adds up in a hurry for departments getting about $60,000 each from the county and little else. That’s why those efforts for Brunswick stew, or barbecue chicken plates, or anything else they tell us is going on are so important.

Costs for departments are staggering. There are buildings, maintenance, equipment and training at the top of the list. Should a new truck be needed, we’re talking anywhere from a quarter-million to a half-million dollars.

Or, turning creative with military surplus vehicles.

Keep in mind, when the fire departments are best equipped and have great range of coverage, we’re not only provided safety but often advantages in insurance rates.

Volunteer fire departments, as far as we can see in the future, will remain vital to Vance County. They’re not going away.

The fundraiser tonight and Saturday is their biggest of the year, one they’re hanging their hat on for great needs — our needs. Even if loud, roaring big-boy toys are less preferred for entertainment, just drop by the gate at the fairgrounds and give them a donation.

We guarantee a smile and a “thank-you!”