IF YOU DON'T already donate generously each year to the volunteer firefighters and disaster-response groups keeping watch over your neighborhood, here are three great reasons to reconsider.
These significant storms – the devastating double whammy of Irene and Lee last year, and now Sandy, still sashaying out of Pennsylvania on Tuesday – offer dramatic evidence that calamity can and will strike close to your home. The only question is this: What then?
A strong safety net – which in Luzerne County includes dozens of volunteer-dependent fire companies, ambulance associations and nonprofit aid groups – increases the likelihood that you can count on speedy response and rescue. In turn, that means this community will be able to rebound more quickly from tragedies of any type, natural or manmade.
In too many cases, however, the ranks of area firefighting companies continue to dwindle. To woo more volunteers, certain state legislators support a bill that would provide qualified emergency responders with a tax credit. Meanwhile, firefighters who remain at the ready often juggle the time-consuming demands of working full-time jobs with trying to adequately train for emergencies, respond to calls and fundraise, fundraise, fundraise.
Do your part; contact your local volunteer fire company and make a financial contribution. Also, consider gifts of material goods to keep these companies' kitchens and restrooms stocked. Or perhaps you can organize a civic group to adopt a nearby volunteer firehouse, spearheading a drive to bring in more supplies and new recruits.
There's no shortage of good reasons to want to buoy these organizations. But if you need one, think only of the next, yet-to-be named storm that will be headed our way.
In an emergency, these and other organizations provide area residents with a lifeline. Support them with your financial contributions.
American Red Cross Wyoming Valley Chapter. Mail checks to 256 N. Sherman St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702; contribute online at http://wyomingvalley.redcross.org; or call 823-7161.
Help Line, a program of the Family Service Association of Wyoming Valley. Mail checks to FSAWV, 31 W. Market St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701; contribute online at www.fsawv.org/donations.php; or call 823-5144.