Down at the Avoca fire hall

Being a member of a small fire department is interesting, because you never know what you’ll be up to next. Turns out I’ll probably spend Saturday cutting the ends off freezie pops.

Hey, whatever it takes to protect my community.

My husband Eric and I are both part of Avoca Fire and Rescue, a small department in a tiny town.

There is always plenty to be done, it seems, and not many of us to do it. Yet that rarely stops us.

Eric spent most of the weekend welding a water tank frame for a tanker truck, while other members painted the new tank. There are times we have found ourselves scrubbing or fixing trucks, sweeping and scrubbing the hall or attending classes. On other days we end up cooking, selling beer, peddling lottery tickets and making other fundraising efforts. In some circumstances, members of our department have gone out trimming tree branches, hosing down rocks (long story) and cleaning out plugged tile. I have browned pounds and pounds of beef for BBQ while preparing to serve food at an auction, grilled burgers for hungry firefighters who were painting a truck, spent hours lettering vehicles, organizing supplies and once even painted the office walls at the fire hall because it was looking dingy.

Oh, sometimes we fight fires and go on medical calls, too.

I’m proud to be a member of an organization whose sole purpose is to save lives and property. Granted, we have a whole lot of fun along the way and the camaraderie of being part of the team is a wonderful reward also.

Stop by and see for yourself.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Avoca Fire and Rescue is hosting an open house at the fire hall and giving away freezie pops and cans of pop. We’re doing this as part of the Avoca Fun In The Sun (FITS) weekend, which includes softball, horse shoes, music and more.

It should be interesting, since our main street is closed due to road construction. But if anyone is over watching softball or hanging out in town, be sure to drop by the hall. We’ll let you climb on a truck, walk through the rescue rig, try on a helmet and maybe even turn on a siren.

Preparing for the open house gave me the opportunity to do another new thing. I spent time hunting online for kid-sized firefighter hats. You never know when that experience will come in handy. I also got looked at strangely while purchasing a ton of freezie pops. Note to self: buy a couple pairs of scissors for cutting off ends.

Before Saturday comes around, we still need to clean the hall and wash fire trucks and the rescue rig. Sounds like it is time to round up a few area teenagers to help. (My son Matt will cringe as he reads that)

I have heard people chuckle when they hear there are 14 people on our fire department, and I usually remind them that is 10 percent of Avoca’s population – that is more than many big towns can claim.

In the words of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer. I firmly believe that. I’ve worked side by side with a group of people who have proven it over and over.