LETTER TO THE EDITOR: God bless them for all they do

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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To the Editor:

There are still unsung heroes in the world around us, and every once in a while we need to acknowledge our gratitude for what they do. Some people who fit into this category are actually paid well for what they do...and some are paid little or nothing. And the latter category is my purpose in writing today.

We experienced a distressing incident recently in our little Short Gap community. A friend and neighbor of more than 40 years had his house catch on fire. As I ran up the street, I was stunned to see the dark smoke billowing out of the house. Fortunately, the sole occupant at the time got out without injury...although that was a close call.

I stood in the yard in stunned silence as I watched the first fire truck roar up the street and pull quickly in front of the house. It was manned by the Short Gap fire chief and two other firefighters. They went right to work; the fire chief giving quick instructions to his crew while he made his first determination of what he was facing. I watched in fascination as he seemed to do everything at once. He was quickly on the radio requesting more help, while continuing to coach his two men who were busy unrolling hoses and hooking into their onboard water.

And more help wasn't long in coming. In fact, I was astonished at how many units kept arriving. Eventually I figured out there were actually eight volunteer fire departments represented. Dozens of fire fighters and EMT personnel accumulated on scene. Fire apparatus and vehicles stretched for hundreds of feet along the street.

As I watched, it wasn't long before I was struck by the enormity of the response. I realized these unsung heroes (who we often take for granted) will absolutely swarm to your house if you need help. Total commitment. They paid no attention to those watching from their yards. They strode purposefully about their business of putting out that fire. And I saw more than one running double time from place to place as they were needed. One man actually running as he carried an extension ladder.

Then in the midst of everything, I saw a firefighter on the ground - overcome by heat and exertion. EMT personnel quickly focused their attention on him, while the fire fighting continued. It choked me up to watch all this unfold as I stood as a mere observer. How all these volunteers will rally to the greatest need - whether to one of their own, or a total stranger.This firefighter was transported to the hospital, but thankfully able to be released that same evening.

What these men and women are willing to do to serve the community (often at risk to their own safety) deserves our respect and gratitude. As such, the following volunteer fire departments are thanked for their service to the community during this fire: Short Gap, assisted by Ridgeley; Wiley Ford; Patterson Creek; Fort Ashby; Fountain; as well as Springfield in Hampshire County, and Mexico Farms in Allegany County.

May God bless them all for what they do for us.

Sincerely & respectfully,

Gary Klavuhn

Short Gap