the years in America, firemen and policemen have been an integral part of the
community. They have been written about in magazines and newspapers. Artist
Norman Rockwell featured these comforting figures in many of his illustrations,
depicting the trust and respect that citizens have for these men and women. In
small towns today, fire and police departments are still the cornerstone of
became more complicated, however, with funding issues, government mandates for
training and safety regulations and other issues. As a result, many departments
do not have the personnel or the time to perform some tasks. Paid and unpaid
staff needs to concentrate on service to the public.
groups became the solution to free up emergency personnel. These groups give
citizens the opportunity to have a real role in the day-to-day activities of
fire and police departments.
District 4 began such a group several years ago. Fire Chief Bob Miller was
planning the 50th anniversary of the department and he wanted to throw a party
for the entire community. The problem was that if an emergency came up, half
the staff would be gone with no one to continue the festivities. Miller needed
a group that was not tied to emergency response for the success of the party,
decided a support group was the answer and he consulted the Fire District Board
of Directors. Board Member Linda Hughes became enthusiastic about the idea and
was instrumental in getting the group started. She said, AI was on board from day one. It is
totally about the fire department and the community. When something needs to be
done, we get it done.@
original Support Group Board of Directors included Leslie and Pat Keene, Cheryl
and Ron Holthusen, Marla and Roy Cabral and Linda and Gary Hughes. The
chairperson was Leslie Keene but shortly after the formation of the group, the
Keenes moved and Cheryl Holthusen was catapulted into the role of chair. She
said, AWhat an adventure this has been.@ Although Holthusen still plays a
major part in the group, Marla Cabral is the current chair.
residents of the Upper Rogue got on board as volunteers and the group was off
and running. The first function was the 50th anniversary which turned out to be
a huge success. The public came and got to know their fire department. Miller
was pleased and saw the group was capable of more.
began so that support group members could be of serious help to the fire
department. Sessions taught them to answer the phone while manning the
department. They also learned the tricks to preparing safe meals for
firefighters, controlling traffic for parades and accident scenes, filling
sandbags for floods, weed abatement and more. A fund-raising spaghetti dinner
was so successful, it will be an annual event. Members also traveled to the
local schools with Miller to teach fire safety.
include participation in the Chili-Cook off at the Upper Rogue Community Center
and the now annual 4th of July Barbecue at the station. Occasionally, members
prepare lunch for seniors at the community center. Because Shady Cove has
responded so favorably to the events sponsored by the support group, Miller has
a few new ideas. These ideas include a fall open house at the station and a
community Christmas event for children and their families. The fire department
has once again become the center of the community.
activities the support group is involved in may seem like a lot of work and
sometimes with the member=s busy schedules it is. But the
camaraderie and feeling of accomplishment turns it all into fun. And the work
is importantC assisting firefighters so they can
save lives and property. What could be more important?
support group is in need of more members. Joining is the chance to be a real
part of the fire departmentC a chance to work side-by-side and get to know the men and
women of Fire District 4. The meetings are the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00
p.m. The location varies. For more information call Miller at 878-2666 or
Secretary Margaret Bradburn at 878-3568.