Future Volunteers


Volunteer firefighters have been a part of the American landscape since before the American Revolution when Ben Franklin organized the first true volunteer force. After that, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton all played their own roles in volunteer fire departments. Today, the same spirit inspires new generations to volunteer to help preserve life and property. While risking their lives to save lives, volunteer firefighters also save Americans an estimated 37 billion dollars annually. Locally, that would amount to an extra couple of million dollars. They also weather political pressures, such as efforts to prevent paid fire fighters from acting as volunteers in their hometowns; and, additional state regulations that further undermine the spirit of volunteerism on which many local fire departments are founded.

firedogBut ice cream and fire trucks is about as good as it gets on a sweet Spring evening. Many of the young visitors scrambling up a fire truck or getting hugs from Sparky the dog may not grow up to be firefighters, but a few will.

The others will undoubtedly build memories that will foster an understanding of the sacrifice and value embedded in volunteerism, and carry forward an appreciation for all the efforts put forth by the individual volunteer firefighter.

Courtesy Photojournalist Jim DeLillo

Courtesy Photojournalist Jim DeLillo

The future of volunteer fire departments got a boost this past Wednesday evening as Baskin Robbins sponsored their 3rd annual 31 Cent Scoop Night at local stores. The event helps raise awareness of the important role played by volunteer firefighters, and in conjunction the Baskin-Robbins and the Dunkin’ Brands Community Foundation is offering $100,000 in scholarships to help support junior firefighters. Ten junior firefighters from across the nation will be selected through a competitive application process to receive a $5,000 scholarship towards their higher education. In addition, ten $5,000 grants will be awarded to departments so they can further develop their existing junior firefighter program.

The volunteer fire departments, in Franklin Lakes, Oakland and Wyckoff have provided generations of local residents with an opportunity to serve, and they have done so with distinction and honor. As lifestyles and work habits change, maintaining an all volunteer force becomes more difficult. The 31 cent Scoop Night is just one of many events volunteer fire departments engage in in an effort to encourage in interest in youth to take part in the emergency services.

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