continued A boyhood curiosity is what led him along his lifelong path.
“The way I got involved was watching the fire trucks go by when I was a kid. Every little boy wants to be a fireman,” he said. “The fire department is a huge part of my life.”
He said it is “great” his son sees the value in volunteering.
“I never pushed him. It is just something he wants to do,” he said, “and I am glad he has taken a interest in serving the public.”
Bunn said it is becoming more difficult to recruit volunteers. He said requirements set by the state have increased “dramatically” and while that can improve safety it also serves as a barrier to bringing new people aboard. Bunn said it is “kind of a balancing act,” but the department works to link a person’s duties with individual interests.
“You meet a good bunch of people and we have a good cross section of the community,” he said. “You can meet a lot of friends and if you ever need help with a project there is 40-some people you can call on for help.”
Ken Abel said the connection families develop with each other is another important element to the department.
“The biggest thing is just the family atmosphere through the whole fire service,” Abel said. “No matter where you go in the country, you are accepted.”
He believes fast-paced life today is partly to blame for how difficult it is to draw new members.
“It involves a lot of training and a lot of time the person has to commit to be a full fledge member,” he said.
There are even more budding firefighters in the Abel Family because Tracy Abel said her 14-year-old daughter, Hollie, and younger son, Christopher, are both interested. The two teenagers are in explorer programs, which allow them to learn the needed skills without being able to go on calls.
“I am waiting for my dog to join,” joked Ken Abel.