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to help them carry the burden,” Nicole Withey says. “I know all the people at the station and they are my family too.”


Time demands is one of the reasons departments have


departments have a hard time recruiting and hard time recruiting and


retaining younger volunteers. Many volunteers come from two-income families and must have employers who are willing to let employees off to run calls.


retaining younger volunteers. Many volunteers come from two-income families and must have employers who are willing


Beyond the crisis response role, time commitments can include training, fundraising and vehicle and station maintenance. To begin serving the community a person does not need any prior training. The department will take care of all courses and certifi cation. For Galbraith and Young, the most valuable quality


Beyond the crisis response role, time commitments can include training, fundraising and vehicle and station maintenance. o begin serving the community,, a person does not need any


prior training. The department will take care of all courses and certifi cation. For Galbraith and Young, the most valuable quality a volunteer needs is the heart to serve.


“Our job is to deliver the same respect and kindness to everyone,” Young says. “And you have to have the strength to face that you are going to lose more than you can save.”


“Our job is to deliver the same respect and kindness to everyone,” oung says. “And you have to have the strength to face that you are going to lose more than you can save.”


Of the many stories shared at this dinner, one especially stand out for Galbraith. H


f the many stories shared at this dinner, one especially stands out for Galbraith. He responded to a cale responded to a call at a scl at a schoolteacher’s home—a community member he knew. The husband was suffer- ing a heart attack, and Galbraith and his team did everything they could to save him, but the outcome was not the happy ending for which all were hoping.


hoolteacher’s


Galbraith was heartbroken for the family. He admitted he was scared to talk to the schoolteacher again, but upon seeing her weeks later, the fi rst words out of her mouth were, “Thank you. Thank you for doing your best to save him.”


“Even in the worst times, people losing people and their lives being torn upside down, even if they didn’t get what they wanted, you do everything in your power to help,” Galbraith says. “It keeps me coming back that with every call, we have the chance to make a difference.”


Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives value helping rural fi re services protect you and your family. To access grant applications or to learn more information, contact your local electric cooperative.


Cooperatives supplying grants through Operation Round Up program


Cooperatives offering donations and/or grants through programs specifi c to rural fi re departments


Cody Withey, Guthrie fi refi ghter, began his career as a volunteer fi refi ghter with Coyle Fire Department. Photo by Nikki Withey


16 WWW.OKL.COOP


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