By Robin Schuster
President, Holiday Park VFD
Fifty years ago, Holiday Park Volunteer Fire Department opened its doors to start protecting and providing much needed services to our growing community. This year, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we have much to be thankful for. We have a new addition currently under construction, which will provide much needed space for apparatus, training and even overnight accommodations when the need arises. We have an amazing team of volunteers who keep our doors open, our lights on and most importantly, our community safe. We have expanded our services over the years to include quick response services by trained emergency medical technicians as well as vehicle rescue, brush fire services and fire safety taught in our schools. We are very fortunate and thankful for each and every person who has donated time, funds, services and even their own safety to make our department what it is today.
As we look back on our history, we can’t help but worry about our future. Feb. 2 marked the 18th birthday of our last junior member, officially making him an active member. Although we are very happy for him, we find ourselves in a frightening position. For the first time in a decade, we find ourselves without strong, willing, young adults who see the necessity of the fire department and wish to be a part of it. Perhaps our future is in jeopardy. Although we have members in their late teens and early twenties, it is vital to keep our junior program alive and strong. These members are the future of the department.
Our junior program allows members under the age of eighteen to learn in a safe environment while promoting self esteem, leadership skills and a strong work ethic. We offer programs taught by members of the department as well as through the Allegheny County Fire Academy. Medical classes can begin at age sixteen when members are able to participate in Emergency Medical Technician classes offered by CCAC and the Public Safety Institute.
Senior members include anyone over the age of eighteen and we encourage a full range of involvement. All classes with the Allegheny Fire Academy as well as CCAC and the Public Safety Institute are open to senior members. In addition, we offer emergency vehicle drivers training, re-certification programs, fire police education and much more.
Another option is volunteering without becoming a firefighter or EMT. Company members of all ages are sought out to help with the business end of volunteering. These members are another vital part of our organization. Side by side with our active members, the company members raise funds, organize events and help support our emergency services volunteers.
As we look to the past for the strength, wisdom and courage that has brought Holiday Park Volunteer Fire Department so far, we ask for your help in securing our future. We are a determined department seeking people looking to make a difference in their community as well as in their own lives. We look forward to many great things yet to come and ask that you consider being a part of them.
Editor's note: Stay tuned for more information about the department's new addition and need for new members in the upcoming weeks. Anyone interested in contacting Holiday Park VFD can call 724-327-3456 or visit www.holidayparkvfd.org for more information. The fire department is located at 415 Abers Creek Road in Plum Borough.