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What Drives You To Be a Fire or EMS Volunteer?

We want to hear your story behind your years of dedication.

Volunteering is hard work.

Our fire departments are currently 100 percent volunteer-based. From the fire chiefs to the probies, the ambulance company captain to the guy (or gal) who gets you safely to the hospital, they are people who give of themselves to serve the community.

Like practically any other position in the public sector, volunteers bear criticism when the system they are a part of reveals imperfection.

So why do they do it? Why do they give their time — moments away from their family and friends, and even their jobs? Let's here it from them.

If you are a volunteer, please leave a comment below answering this question. Tell how many years you have served, what your position is, and, if you feel comfortable, which department of which you are a member. We want to know the challenges you feel you face as a volunteer. Maybe you have a story of why you are inspired year after to year to get up in the middle of the night to answer a call. Maybe your own answer will inspire others.

As a member of the Bridgehampton Fire Department, I know first hand that we need more people just like you.

Alwayslocal January 20, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Being an EMT was one of the best choices I have ever made. Between CPR from an unfortunate car accienrt or holding grandmas Hand on the way to the hospital, it all makes you feel the same. It's a good feeling, repaying our community. JOIN
Barbara Borsack January 20, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I joined the East Hampton Ambulance over twenty years ago and I think we all do it because its such a "hands-on" way of giving back to the community. The rewards are instantaneous and its very fulfilling to be able to help someone when they are at their most vulnerable. It is not easy though, and all volunteers feel the discouragement that comes from being called out for non-emergencies, which make us feel belittled and unappreciated. But in the end, the impact we can have in such a real way on the lives of our fellow community members is very satisfying. We all do it because we love it, otherwise the hours of training and time volunteering would never be worth it. If only there were more of us!
Lisa A. Charde January 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I joined the East Hampton Ambulance 14 years ago. Served as Assistant Chief and then Chief. Now serving as Captain. There are a lot of reasons a person does this kind of volunteering and for each person it is different. I started because Joan Elley kept coming in the IGA where I worked and told me I would be good at it. She planted the seed. Years later when I was looking for something to do that would really make me feel fulfilled, I joined. (Thank you Joan) It turns out that there is a lot of hard work and commitment involved. In turn there is the supreme satisfaction of being there to help people in their time of need. Do we save lives? On occasion. Help deliver babies? If we are lucky. Mostly we are there to help and comfort people for a short period of time during their time of need. The community benefits from my efforts but not as much as I do! No better feeling in the world!!! Btw, Barbara Borsack was the first FEMALE Chief for the East Hampton Ambulance. A real pioneer in this world! Thank you Barbara!
Randy Hoffman January 20, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Nice picture
Alwayslocal January 21, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Randy! It's official YOUR FAMOUS!
Randy Hoffman January 21, 2013 at 01:44 AM
See, that's why I joined
Peter January 22, 2013 at 03:37 PM
I joined East Hampton Ambulance in 1992 and "retired" last year after 20 years. I was motivated to join by an interest in medicine and a desire to give back to a community that had so willingly welcomed me several years earlier as an immigrant. This has got to be one of the most rewarding jobs going - yes it is a job. To know, as Barbara said, that you are helping someone in a hour of need. And for someone to approach you sometimes many years later to thank you for helping them, makes the profession very fulfilling. In addition, the friendships developed over the years have been wonderful. If you have an interest in helping people and giving back to the community, then this is something I would highly recommend. Above all, you will learn skills that can last a lifetime.

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