As fire companies around the area struggle to deal with short funds and growing demands for services, John H. Enders Fire Company is turning to the time honored auxiliary as a way to help decrease the pressure on volunteers and expand community involvement. An informational meeting will be held March 30 at 7pm in the social hall at the fire station in Berryville. The meeting is open to the public and anyone in the community who would like to support their local fire company is encouraged to attend.
Chris Shipe President of John H. Enders Fire Company commented on the planned meeting saying, “I think there are some very community minded folks that want to help the fire department perform our service to the community, but don’t want to go into burning buildings. The auxiliary is a great way for folks to help us out by assisting at fund raisers and helping at major incidents by providing support services so that as many fire fighters as possible can be deployed to work fires or run rescue calls.”
The trend towards supplementing services with auxiliary programs is already being adopted in other areas of the community. Earlier this month the Town of Berryville announced that they would soon be implementing an auxiliary officer program to extend service and reduce costs. Police Chief Neil White told Berryville’s Police and Security committee that a supplemental auxiliary officer program can boost the town’s law enforcement resources at minimal expense to taxpayers.
While the fire company’s approach to an auxiliary is geared more towards support than officers, the drive behind the effort is the same, expanding services without increasing costs. Enders President Shipe said, “Certainly everyone can agree that fire and rescue are essential services to the community – the question is how to fund these services. One way is 100% through taxes, or what I feel is a better way, is for members of the community to contribute there time and talents to help the fire department operate and raise the needed funds so that our services can be delivered to the community with the least amount of bureaucracy and in the most cost effective manner possible.”
Many residents have fond memories of the former auxiliary and were surprised to find out that the organization had disbanded. At the awards banquet for the fire company held earlier in the year several longtime members of the former auxiliary were recognized for their volunteer efforts. This new initiative offers a younger generation an opportunity to get involved and show their support for the men and women who protect the community.
Shipe said, “The auxiliary is a great way for folks to help their community without having to make the training and time commitment it takes to run fire and rescue calls,” but also added, “That is not to say we don’t need folks to help run calls. We definitely welcome anyone that is interested in helping run calls, but the auxiliary offers another venue for folks to help.”
Residents who are interested and would like more information can contact Chief Harold Rohde at Chief@endersfire.com or attending the meeting on March 30 at 7pm in the social hall at the fire station.