Visiting Station 3: Adrian Volunteer Fire Department

ADRIAN — Continuing to notice the decline of volunteers, Adrian Volunteer Fire Department is doing its best to recruit a younger generation of firefighters interested in helping their community.

Being a firefighter isn’t a job for everyone, but for the right person, it creates an environment that not only extends one’s family, but also offers a place to grow in knowledge and skills. Many people question their ability when it comes to volunteering for the fire department. While doing so, other questions will arise like how much time is required or what is training like?

For the volunteers of Station 3, these questions are easy to answer. Training may seem daunting, but upon completion, the feeling of accomplishment quickly fills the heart. When talking to now Assistant Chief Rick Harlow, he noted, “The training seems like a lot, but it’s all worth it in the end.”

Time is the second subject usually questioned by prospective volunteers. Most, if not all firefighters maintain normal jobs and hobbies while also spending time with their families. Harlow manages a towing company while also assisting the new Adrian VFD Chief in making sure to maintain the certifications of the crew.

“Years ago, my dad was a firefighter and I’ve always wanted to be one. Not everyone can fight fires, but there is always somewhere in the department where people can help,” Harlow assured.

Other department members took the time to disclose their own reasoning behind becoming a firefighter.

“When I was young, people I knew and respected were firefighters. I looked up to them so much and wanted to follow in their footsteps,” expressed Chief Chuck Rutherford, a proud grandfather and outdoorsman.

“My father helped found the fire department. It’s said that I was seen running the pump for my dad at the age of 13,” stated John Malcom, a member for over 50 years.

“I was just a kid in Adrian and wanted to help. I helped with brush fires and started running with the guys from the department, and the rest is history,” said Dave Perrine, an EMT and volunteer for over 40 years.

“My dad is a firefighter, but I wanted to help the community, and this was one of the only ways I knew I could,” reported Mac Michaels, a city employee and one of the younger members in the department.

Being a firefighter doesn’t always mean running into a burning building. The title carries many hats from directing traffic during a car accident to comforting an injured person. Firefighters are moms, dads, grandpas, and grandmas. They could be your mailman or even a bus driver. People who volunteer are around you every day.

Helping raise funds for the department is a wonderful way to volunteer. The department itself hosts multiple fundraisers like a hot dog sale hosted on Adrian VFD’s anniversary, fall festivals, yard sales, and gun raffles. With the pandemic restricting those usual fundraisers, the department looks to hopefully get back into the swing of things as the pandemic begins to settle. 

If you or someone you know may be interested in volunteering for the Adrian Volunteer Fire Department, stop by Station 3 any Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. or message the department via the Adrian Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.

Research shows that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety. It also reduces stress, which further decreases the risk of many physical and mental health problems, like heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and general illness. Take a stand for your general health and volunteer with a fire department today!


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