Have You Hugged A Volunteer Firefighter Today?
Published: April 16th, 2009
By: Melissa Stagnaro

Have you hugged a volunteer firefighter today?

I have a reputation for being somewhat emotional. But sometimes it’s justified.

Earlier this month I had the privilege to be invited to the Oxford Fire Department’s Annual Awards Banquet. (Tyler usually covers all things police and fire, but sometimes I get lucky.) As I sat listening to Oxford Fire Chief Ron Martin talk about the type of person who becomes a volunteer fireman, one who selflessly sacrifices their own time and safety to help others, I couldn’t help get choked up. Not just because Ron’s words were touching (which they were), but because I know first hand how these volunteers make a difference.

Sometimes people take for granted these individuals who, as Ron put it, “answer the call” in the middle of the night when there is a fire or other emergency. But if they have ever come to your aid in your hour of need, you would never make that mistake.

Some of my first memories involve the Oxford and Greene Fire Departments. Despite the fact that I was very young when we were first “introduced,” they remain some of the most vivid memories I have of my youth.

I was only 3 1/2 when our barn burned down. It was in early December, right after my grandmother died. The days were short, and it was already dark when we sat down to eat dinner (spaghetti, I believe). It was during that meal when one of us, I’m not sure who, first noticed the flames across the road.

By then, it was already too late. The dry hay stored in the loft provided both the tinder to start the blaze and the fuel to turn it into an inferno in what seemed like a matter of minutes.

It all went up so fast.

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