That’s me with eight of the volunteer firefighters from Munhall Volunteer Fire Company No. 4 after a long day of work.
Photo courtesy of Andy Quayle
When I sat down to write my November column about volunteer firefighting, it took me 45 minutes to hit 1,200 words. That’s not good. I’m only allowed 800, so that of course meant snipping away at the column until it could fit within the space allotted to me each month in the print edition.
Luckily, on my blog, I can tell you now what I didn’t get to tell you then:
1. Oh, first! First I must tell you that this line was cut, the bold portion to be exact:
“Are you sure? I’m not very good with tools.” Then I pulled a line right out of The Princess Bride, “I might kill whoever needs saved.”
I couldn’t NOT tell you about a Princess Bride reference. That would be … inconceivable!
2. I didn’t have the space to write about the families of the men and women who volunteer for fire companies. They leave behind wives, husbands and children and other relatives at all hours of the day and night to do oftentimes dangerous work. The firefighters aren’t the only ones willing to make a sacrifice; their families do, too, and that should be applauded.
3. I refer to the "men" or the "firemen" in my column, but Munhall has a female firefighter, too! She didn’t participate in drills with us that day, which is why I used the masculine pronoun and noun when referring to my firefighting friends I worked with that day.
4. Munhall Volunteer Fire Company No. 4 sells an all-purpose sauce as their fundraiser. It’s called Munhall 4 Sauce, and I’m going to use it in a meatloaf, and I’ll let you know how it turns out.
5. When the men were gathering and preparing to get on the truck, I wasn’t aware that the Chief was present because, like I said, I was expecting an older, gruffer, stouter man that fit in nicely with my preconceived notion of what a fire chief looks like. So I stood there like a moron seeing if I could jump a foot in the air while wearing 30+ pounds of firefighting gear and generally just making a fool of myself. Then Chief Rodgers started talking, and I realized the men were all listening to him and showing him respect and then the big, bright light bulb came on, and I realized he was the Chief and WHOOPS! Shut up and listen, self! I bet he gets that a lot.
With that said, here’s a slide show that gives a good glimpse into the drills and my experience with Munhall Volunteer Fire Co. No. 4.