All the support in return

Published 8:17 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

Every now and then, a banner or poster catches the eye, advertising a fundraiser for one of the many fire, rescue and/or EMS departments throughout the county. Often, those fundraisers revolve around food, most often pancake and sausage breakfasts or barbecue/chicken dinners.

The food is always good — downhome cooking at its finest. They’re the kind of meals the most people from these parts think of as “comfort food.” It’s an appropriate descriptor, because these departments essentially provide every resident of Beaufort County a bit of comfort.

These departments hold fundraisers to add to the money collected by the county through service district taxes then dispersed to departments for their operations. They don’t have payroll, because most are staffed by volunteers. They do have needs, however: maintaining buildings and equipment, buying new equipment when the old has worn out; in the case of Pinetown Volunteer Fire Department members, they’re raising money to build a new substation farther north in their coverage district.

The goal is clear: each one of these things allows these departments to better serve the people who rely on them in case of emergency, and emergencies are not confined to one service district. A Washington resident could have a heart attack on a visit to Belhaven; an Aurora resident could have a diabetic emergency in Chocowinity. Belhaven, Pantego and Bunyan volunteer fire departments, through mutual aid, could respond to a fire in Pinetown.

Ultimately, though separate entities, they’re all the same unit of first responders. Each fundraiser doesn’t just support one. In the end, it supports them all.

For that, they deserve all the support we have to give in return.