John 15:13

     I know that this series has run long, but as I compose what I want to get across, more qualifications I need to add.  And so, I am in the process of developing an idea that is born from frustration from the fact that as a retired firefighter my first impulse is to run at the fires and help.  Common sense restrains me from doing so because I would simply be in the way and a burden.  Physically I cannot help anymore.  That is why after 34 years as a certified EMT I let my certification go in 2010.  I was not doing anything other than enjoying being around those who were on the job and telling war stories.  But there was no way I could effectively function even in re-certification.

     I was not even able to volunteer last year at the EOC (emergency operations center) answering a telephone during the Anderson Creek Fire.  So I try to use my words to tell the stories of those who still can go at the flames and those who can support them.

     In my frustrations to want to do something that can do some good, a seed has been planted and it has been growing for years.  Now it is taking the form that I want to share.  But first another qualification.

     A few years ago my local fire department wrecked a grass fire rig on a fire helping out Barber County FD.  The truck was provided from Kansas State Forestry and it was a military surplus pickup.  With the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan the supply dried up for Forestry to distribute trucks to fire departments.  All that is available are big 5 Tons 6×6’s.  Yet there are many other types of equipment now going to public auction.  I wanted to obtain a used grass fire truck from other fire department sources that I have.  I was never able to find anything for them.  If I had the funds there are many good used units that are for sale all over the country, I would buy one and give it to them if I could.

     This frustration leads me to wonder, what can be done to help these fire departments that are so strapped for money?  There are government programs and these come complete with mountains of paper work and requirements that involve increasing the cost of equipment to astronomical proportions.

     There has to be the way of tapping into the spirit of all the people who step up and help after these huge fires, before they happen.  And so comes my idea.

     As a people will we take responsibility to do something that is real, needed, and simple?  I think there is.  I propose to create a non-profit privately financed organization that can raise money, collect equipment (both new and used), distribute it, and organize group purchases of equipment to help fire departments who are under funded and under equipped.

     This would have to be a group that is fully visible, with clear goals, and a governing board of people who are knowledgeable to pull this all together.  Governments have to look at boundary lines and mountains of red tape, restrictions, and slow moving bureaucracy to come to any assistance.

     I have outlined the financial needs, health, and age restrictions of the rural fire service.  As a private citizen there is more that needs to be done and has to be done to help our rural communities and rural fire departments.

     I have hesitated to make any proposal like this because I have many ideas and not the health and energy to take on a huge cause by myself.  So it will be up to you, the reader, to decide if I am just having frustrations and can do nothing about them.  Or do I have an idea that could be practical and is there people willing to join in?

     Responsibility is seeing a need and acting on it.  Not waiting for some politician or bureaucrat to do what is right.  The government has it’s place and let them do what they should do.  But it is our responsibility to help our fellow man, our friends, our neighbors, and the other living beings that we are responsible for on this earth.

     The response and support of people from all over the nation is both awesome and humbling.  That need will never end.  But this is something that can be done to help before the next disaster happens, and they will happen again.

     If you agree, contact me through this paper or however you read this, or at

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