By Senator Patty Ritchie
All across our state, there are brave people who are truly making a difference in our communities by protecting our families, friends and neighbors.
Every single time these people, our volunteer firefighters, answer a call, they are putting their lives on the line to do so.
However, due to the continued demands of becoming and maintaining status as a volunteer firefighter, we have seen the number of people accepting the challenge continue to shrink.
Here in New York State, more than 100,000 brave people volunteer to serve our local fire departments.
However, that number is down more than 10 percent over the last 35 years.
That is why each year, departments across the state team up with the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York to host one of the largest and most successful volunteer first responder recruitment weekends in the country called “RecruitNY.”
This year, the ninth annual event will be held April 27-28.
During the weekend, volunteer fire departments will open their doors to the public to show people what it means to become a member of the volunteer fire department family and help protect our communities.
Since RecruitNY began in 2011, New York State has added more than 25,000 new volunteer firefighters.
Here in our region, nearly 30 departments are taking part in RecruitNY weekend:
Adams Fire Department
Black River Fire Department, Inc.
Cape Vincent Fire Department
Carthage Fire Department
Felts Mills Fire
Lorraine Vol. Fire Co., Inc.
Mannsville Manor Fire Department
Northpole Fire Company
Rutland Fire Department
Theresa Fire Department
Town of Brownville Joint Fire District
Town of Watertown Fire Department
Wellesley Island Volunteer Fire Department
Altmar Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
Minetto Volunteer Fire Department
Redfield Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
Ringgold Fire Company
Volney Volunteer Fire Corporation
West Amboy Volunteer Fire Department
West Monroe Fire Department
St. Lawrence County:
Colton Volunteer Fire Department
Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department
Louisville Volunteer Fire Department
Waddington Volunteer Fire Department
If you are hardworking, dedicated and seeking a new way to make a difference, I hope you will consider joining the ranks of our state’s volunteer firefighters, or sharing this information with someone you think might want to volunteer their time to protect New York State and its people.