MOLLIE S. WATERS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Some people run away from danger while others run to it, but most who meet danger head-on are not thrill seekers in search of an adrenaline rush. They are first responders, such as police officers, EMTs, nurses, doctors and firefighters.
Every day first responders put their lives on the line to help those in difficult and dangerous situations. Some even do so without pay because they see a need in their communities.
One group who fits that bill is volunteer firefighters.
In McKenzie, a dedicated group of residents work together to provide a variety of services to their community. They are the McKenzie Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD).
Members of the MVFD, which has been in operation since 1974, are Wendell Goodwin, Winston Goodwin, Michael Henry, Doug Lee, Hannah Lynch, Kristen Lynch, James Shipp, Jessica Shipp, Gail Smith, Justin Smith, Wayne Smith, Jay Waters and LeAnn Waters.
According to member LeAnn Waters, the MVFD does a lot more for the community than most people realize.
“We do firefighting, assist EMS with medical calls, assist state troopers and the county with accidents and assist forestry with wild land calls,” said Waters. “We serve the McKenzie area and a 5-mile radius in all directions.”
The members volunteer their time during the calls they receive and for the training they must go through to be prepared to assist on those calls.
Waters said the members have to go through CPR training and take classes through the fire college.
Waters describes the group as being very supportive of one another.
“We are a brotherhood,” said Waters. “When there’s a house fire, these guys have to trust the man next to him to get him out alive. They depend on one another to make sure they go home to their families.”
Waters added that funding for the MVFD is often hard to come by. Though they receive some aid through state and local monies, the greatest part of their funding comes through donations and fundraisers.
Even though their funds are limited, their hearts and passion for their volunteer work is not. The members believe in their mission, to aid in their community and are ready to answer those calls for help.
MVFD upcoming officers for 2017 are Michael Henry, Chief; Jay Waters, Assistant Chief; Justin Smith, Captain; and LeAnn Waters, Secretary/Treasurer.