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Owenton/Owen County Volunteer Fire Department News

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Resolve to become a volunteer in 2015

BY JUDE CANCHOLA

As with the beginning of each year, we all make resolutions to change “something” for the coming year.
Most of us want to lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, spend more time with family, etc.
All of these are good goals to accomplish, but I have another resolution that I would like to add to your list: Volunteer to make your community a safer place to live by becoming a member of your local volunteer fire department.
In 1996 I decided to become a volunteer firefighter.
Was it a huge step? Absolutely.
Did my family question my decision? Absolutely.
In fact, my mom asked very bluntly, “Why would you willingly walk into a burning building?” Which quite frankly is a very good question, since we have been taught from childhood to exit a burning building quickly and orderly.
Over the past 19 years, I have had numerous answers to my mom’s question. But first, let’s go back to 1996.
At the time, I had some good friends that were members of the Owen County Volunteer Fire Department and they would share stories of fires fought when we would be together at dinners or ballgames.
The common denominators they all had was a sense of helping others and the “brotherhood” that comes from being a certified firefighter.
Since I made Owen County my home, I wanted it to be a safe place for everyone to live and call home.
Once I made the decision to join, the Commonwealth of Kentucky made it clear that I would spend a lot of time at the firehouse training. (All recruits are required to finish 150 hours of training within a 2-year period).
This is a big commitment, but with the possibility of saving someone’s life on the line, it was time very well spent. (Did you know that you can make a 30 minute SCBA last for 40 minutes if you control your breathing properly?)
To be honest, it was so much fun, I still train 40-50 hours a year (although 16 hours of firefighter survival and rescue in full turnout gear in August heat is much harder on the body these days).
As firefighters we train over and over, hoping we never have to put that training to use.
But I cannot begin to put into words the satisfaction, enjoyment, elation and sometimes sorrow in helping my community.
Yes, 99 percent of the time when someone dials 911, something bad is happening. But the sense of pride and helpfulness that comes after having provided aid to my neighbor is overwhelming.
Knowing that I personally helped save a life or property, or helped a neighbor in need is what Coach Ronnie Dunavent’s “get high on life” is all about.
And let’s not forget the kids. As a firefighter, I have spent untold hours in our school systems, library and community centers teaching fire safety and fire science. There is no better feeling than having a 5 or 6 year old meet me on the street and say, “Hello, fireman Jude.”
The Owenton and Owen County Volunteer Fire Department would like to wish all of you a safe and happy 2015.
And we ask that if you have some spare time to spend and would like to know more about the fire service, stop by and see us.
We meet the second and fourth Monday of each month.
And if you live in the Monterey, New Liberty or Jonesville communities, those folks would love to hear from you also.
For more information on becoming a volunteer fire fighter, please contact the Owenton/Owen County Volunteer Fire Department at 502-484-2131. The New Liberty Fire Department can be reached at 502-463-2618; Jonesville at 859-823-2121 and Monterey at 502-484-0511.

Jude Canchola is the Owenton/Owen County Volunteer Fire Department’s public information officer and assistant fire chief to the Owenton Volunteer Fire Department.