Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

June 29, 2014

Coming to help

Clarysville VFD has failed, but others are still on the job

— The decision to remove a loved one from life support is difficult beyond the understanding of anybody who never has had to do it.

Members of the Allegany County Emergency Services Board must have felt the same emotions last week when they decided to take the Clarysville Volunteer Fire Company out of service.

We were told that they “agonized” over that decision, which brought to an end nine months of working with department members to restore the company.

Financial and membership problems led to the company’s demise. Last December, its former fire chief was jailed and ordered to make restitution of funds he embezzled.

Clarysville isn’t the only volunteer outfit to fall on hard times lately in Allegany County.

Baltimore Pike’s fire company is recovering after financial difficulties that included charges being brought against department members.

McCoole’s fire department folded in April 2013, but Tri-Towns Emergency Medical Services in Westernport has been handling calls to the McCoole area and wants to acquire a satellite location there.

That brings us to an important point: Failure of a few companies doesn’t mean our volunteers have become an endangered species. Most of them are doing well.

They respond with mutual aid when companies in other communities have to take on a big fire or other emergency, and that includes the loss of service like that experienced in McCoole and now Clarysville. Coming to help is what they do.

Other companies who have mutual aid agreements with Clarysville will provide fire coverage to the area until long-term decisions can be made.

The overwhelming majority of our volunteer firefighters, rescue squad members and other emergency services providers take what they do so seriously that they risk their lives and take time away from their families ... and it sometimes becomes a family affair.

We’re proud of them for what they do.

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