Once a month, the Creston Volunteer Fire Department meets for a regular meeting in the training room at the fire station.
During these meetings we discuss various things relating to the volunteer side of the fire department, such as who will be working the kettle corn popper on local holidays, how our fundraising money will be spent and that sort of thing.
The past several meetings, however, have been particularly tough because it has become apparent to me that we as a volunteer organization have not been as united as we have in the past.
This is something I’ve noticed before, but took the wrong path and denied its existence for a long time. The first year I moved here and joined the Creston Fire Department was probably the best year so far for my service to the community. It was a great learning experience because I learned how I could protect Creston and Union County, but it was more than that. I got to know everyone on the department, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fraternity I had, and still have, with my mentors.
But that has all changed.
Based on my observations within the department, for things to get done, it takes the same several people every time donating all their time.
After talking about the issue with several others, I’ve come to realize this is nothing new. However, this situation feels unique because there’s more to it than just volunteering to fundraise.
The fire department involves firefighting. However, we still need money in order to survive. When it dwindles down to only several of us who work each local holiday or fundraiser while others don’t take the time to come to meetings or work one or two hours during fundraisers, it’s difficult to find that drive that makes you want to be part of an organization anymore. It feels like the camaraderie that once was so magical about being a firefighter has sizzled down to nothing.
What bothers me the most, though, about situations like this is how much some people no longer care for their organization. This isn’t just happening at our fire department. It’s happening with other organizations all over. But why be part of an organization if you don’t want to put forth the effort it takes to make it thrive, make it be so much better than it is?
It’s one of those things I know I’ll be questioning for the rest of my existence: why can’t everyone in my brotherhood care enough to do something?
Maybe I’ll never get an answer to this question, but maybe questioning the issue in the first place will eventually lead to an answer.