A con­ven­tion of he­roes gath­ers this week­end

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

We of­ten see their trucks rac­ing by us on the road­ways, and rarely do we en­counter them in ac­tion or in uni­form in the com­mu­nity un­less we should hap­pen to be in an un­for­tu­nate emer­gency sit­u­a­tion. That’s hardly the ideal sit­u­a­tion in which to meet and thank a fire­fighter or emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cian.

But this week­end, the public has the op­por­tu­nity to honor and cel­e­brate their lo­cal vol­un­teer first re­spon­ders at the 70th South­ern Mary­land Vol­un­teer Fire­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion Con­ven­tion, to be held Satur­day, April 29, and Sun­day, April 30, at Hunt­ing­town Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment and Res­cue Squad.

Ac­cord­ing to the SMVFA’s con­ven­tion chair­man, Don­ald Gib­son, this 70th con­ven­tion is hap­pen­ing in Calvert County as it co­in­cides with Dale Bowen, pres­i­dent and life mem­ber of Hunt­ing­town VFD, be­com­ing the new pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land as­so­ci­a­tion.

To­mor­row, our heroic home­town vol­un­teers from through­out Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties will gather at the Hunt­ing­town fire­house for a me­mo­rial ser­vice, din­ner, awards, of­fi­cers’ in­stal­la­tion and more. And on Sun­day, there are more public ac­tiv­i­ties in which the com­mu­nity is en­cour­aged to at­tend, start­ing with a pa­rade at 1 p.m. The pa­rade is set to be­gin at the north en­trance of Old Town Road in Hunt­ing­town and con­tinue along Old Town and Hunt­ing Creek roads.

Lit­tle ones can ex­pect to have a good time watching var­i­ous units’ ap­pa­ra­tuses cruise past, in­clud­ing fire trucks, am­bu­lances, large tankers and pos­si­bly boats, lad­der trucks and more.

Af­ter the pa­rade, the com­mu­nity is in­vited to the fire­house to watch these ti-county life-sav­ing vol­un­teers com­pete in friendly con­tests like bucket brigades, tug-of-war, an EMS con­test, an ob­sta­cle course and more. Tro­phies will be awarded fol­low­ing the fi­nal con­test. Food, drink and busi­ness ven­dors will be on hand through­out the af­ter­noon. For a map of the pa­rade route and more in­for­ma­tion, go to www. smvfa.net/con­tent/con­ven­tion.

Ev­ery time they throw on that uni­form to re­spond to a call, our lo­cal vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and EMTs know­ingly and un­selfishly put their lives on the line to save the lives of oth­ers. We can’t show enough grat­i­tude and re­spect for that vi­tal ser­vice they pro­vide in our com­mu­nity. But we do know they some­times de­serve a day or two to give pause and cel­e­brate that ser­vice.

So here’s to seven decades of the SMVFA ad­vo­cat­ing for im­proved fire ser­vice in our com­mu­nity. The first con­ven­tion hav­ing been held in North Beach in 1947, ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion’s web­site, it only seems fit­ting to ring in the 70th year again in Calvert.

We plan to be at this week­end’s fes­tiv­i­ties, and we hope oth­ers in the county and ti-county area will join us in meet­ing, hon­or­ing and thank­ing the many vol­un­teers who work, of­ten in ad­di­tion to their full-time day jobs, to keep us safe, day in and day out. This is truly a con­ven­tion of lo­cal he­roes. We salute them all.

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