Posted 1/26/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
How do you thank someone for a job that requires being on call 24/7, hours of training, and pays nothing?
Without the dedication of the volunteers of Tioga Fire and Ambulance, the availability of emergency services would be severely limited in this rural area.
On Saturday night, those volunteers were treated to a steak dinner at the golf course. It was but a small way to thank them for all they do.
“I think it’s important the community give a little back to them,” said Amanda Mickelsen, who is an EMT volunteer in Tioga.
She said a lot of people may not realize just how much goes into being on call.
The dinner brought out about 50 people, including volunteers and their guests. Also included were members of Tioga’s police department, who are often first responders to any emergency in the area, and CPR-certified drivers.
Mickelsen said they decided to have the event at the golf course to keep the event with local businesses.
“It’s the community helping the community,” she said.
While the slowdown in the oil industry has decreased the number of calls, it’s also taken away some good volunteers, Mickelsen said.
“We had some really dedicated people, but some of them have left the state now,” she said.
And it’s not always easy to replace them. It can be a very demanding job.
“The volunteers are taking time away from their jobs and families. And they get woken up at three in the morning,” Mickelsen said.
Fortunately, there is a new group of volunteers coming in to help fill some of the losses over the past year.
Holly Grubb, who is an EMT trainer, holds classes once a year in the fall. They run until spring.
She said she has about eight currently enrolled. The work doesn’t always suit everyone, and so she often has a few drop out. But it’s not a bad size of group at a time when volunteers are still needed, Grubb said.
Grubb said with the increased demands due to growth in the area, some communities had no choice but to create a professional EMT and fire service. Despite all the demands placed on Tioga’s volunteers, the city has been able to rely on them all through the boom.
“We are very fortunate in Tioga to have maintained our volunteers. It’s a source of pride for us,” Grubb said.
Anyone interested in beginning training in the fall or who has any questions about volunteering for the fire or EMT crew can contact Grubb at 848-6408.