Throughout the United States, volunteerism continues to dwindle. At Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Company #1, we too have noticed fewer volunteers. Why?
The excitement of the fire service remains. Members visit pre-schools and daycare centers in the Township sharing their enthusiasm for their volunteer job with youngsters who are excited to crawl around the fire truck, wear a fire coat, and don a red plastic fire helmet to take home and show parents. Cub scout troops regularly visit the firehouse. Traditionally, second graders visit our station proudly reciting lessons learned in preparation for their trip. The excitement remains and many announce that they too want to be a firefighter when they get old enough.
Then, some thing happens. This year at high school graduation, two junior firefighters processed with cheers from fellow firefighters who were on stand-by at the ceremony and a quick siren from the engine. These young volunteers who juggled high school, extracurricular activities, fire and emergency medical technician training classes, applying to college and other senior year activities created time to give back to their community. We are proud of you Brendan Kriner and Natalie Johnson. But still, we wonder what happened to the other excited 120 plus students who visited in second grade or as a cub scout?
Today, the demands of living challenge young families. Many must work two or three jobs to afford housing, buy food and gas, pay bills, etc. In addition, regulations require additional training to respond to fires, rescues, or medical emergencies than 20 or more years ago. Little time remains to dedicate to the fire company. Fewer younger folks join the ranks. Those that do volunteer usually “grew up in the fire service” as parents or grandparents were firefighters / EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) and they quickly learned that the firehall was their second home. Like a home, the youngsters felt a sense of belonging, safety, and also learned character - the importance of being a good neighbor and helping others.
As the average age of volunteer members at Loyalsock steadily climbs, many members celebrate 20- 30- 40 – 50 – 60 - year anniversaries of service to Station 18. Retirement might allow those more- free time to help the community than they had while raising a family and working, but the demands are harder than years ago. The volunteer fire and ambulance service is no longer just a hobby for many. As the community expands, so do the needs for services. Loyalsock has more nursing homes than any other community in Lycoming County. There are more hotels/ motels. The interstate transects the Township. Housing developments dot the hillsides. Cars become more complex. These changes bring about not only more calls, but more training requirements, report filings, raising of funds, etc.
In addition to fire and emergency services, the needs of Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Company #1 continue to expand. We welcome volunteers. Please consider volunteering.
Address: 715 Northway Road, Williamsport PA 17701