A convention of heroes gathers this weekend
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.