The greatest job you’ll ever do — for free

It’s not just hard work, it’s back-breaking. The conditions are hell, quite literally, hot, dirty and dangerous.

Some circumstances can be life-threatening. But for those who do this work, they will tell you it’s the best job they’ve ever done – and they do it for free.

The ranks of local volunteer firefighters and EMTs has been thinning for years and in response, local departments held a sort of recruiting session for people interested in volunteering this past week at Washington State Community College.

Turnout was good, and for anyone still on the fence about serving as a volunteer firefighter, we hope you take the plunge.

It will be a challenge for sure, but well worth it.

Volunteers are required to get 36 hours of certified training before they can participate and then continue with annual training after their initial go round. Many of the local volunteer fire departments will help to cover the cost of that initial training. The course is offered at Washington State and the next class picks up in September.

The need for volunteers is significant here and nationwide. In fact, one local official says 69 percent of our nation’s firefighters are volunteers, many of whom serve in small rural communities like ours.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews is credited with getting the local fire school off the ground after coordinating with WSCC President Brad Ebersole. The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office got behind the idea and now it’s easier than ever for local residents to get the training they need.

As an added benefit, the skills learned can be used on the job, too.

We hope to see more people answer the call to help their communities this way.