Fire departments make appeal for more volunteer firefighters

Firefighters from the Millersburg, Boone County and Central Callaway fire departments work together to finish putting out a grass fire in Millersburg off of County Road 351 Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.

Four to five area volunteer fire departments staged an appreciation event Saturday to connect firefighters' families, as well as thank volunteers and get to know their neighbors a bit better.

"I think it was a really good turnout," Jeff Wallendorff, fire chief for the South Callaway Fire Protection, said of the annual event at Morgan Soccer Park in Fulton.

The event also gave "us a local gathering to see the equipment and meet our neighbors," added Larry Curtis, fire chief at the Millersburg Fire Protection District.

Those attending were treated to barbeque pork, brisket, ribs and potato salad.

Volunteers' service was celebrated at the event, as well as an invitation to potential volunteers who might consider joining in their efforts.

There has a been a shortage of volunteers, firefighters said. Fire departments have been trying to get the message out through social media.

Firefighters said their goal was to try to enlist 20 volunteers.

"Everyone has a personal life, a job, and a lot of people just don't have the commitment to help the community than they did 30-40 years ago, and that's what's hurting us," said Travis Bell, fire chief at the New Bloomfield Fire Protection District.