Volunteer Firefighters Helping Kids

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Volunteer firefighters at the Locke Fire Station in Corvallis each donate 170-200 hours a month of their time to the community. It’s a profession that means long hours and hard work. The paycheck? A love for helping people.

“I did a ride along in Eugene,” said volunteer Justin Lewis. “And they ended up saving the house. I loved knowing that we were helping people.”

Many kids grow up dreaming to be a firefighter, and one native Californian says he knew it wasn’t a difficult choice for him to choose a spot for service.

“It seemed like Corvallis was the right place,” said volunteer Jeff Boatwright. “They do a lot of stuff to be involved in the community.”

Lieutenant Rob Yencopal says the volunteers were at the station on Thanksgiving, and will be there on Christmas and on New Year’s Day.

“I think it speaks to the program that we have here and how these guys operate,” he said. “And where their mindset is. That they just care so much for the community.”

On Thursday, that caring spirit was more evident as Santa’s sleigh rolled out, appearing more as a red fire engine.

The volunteers say they are pursuing careers as firefighters in the first place because they want to help people. But on Thursday, they helped kids in need in a different way.

“We’re boxing up all the presents and getting ready to wrap them,” said volunteer Michal Stuck. “We adopted five kids in the community to buy presents for. It’s a great way to give back to kids and help out during the holidays.”

The volunteer firefighters spent $160 dollars of their own money.

“They all chipped in to buy this stuff,” Lieutenant Yencopal said. “They already don’t get paid a dime for their time here. And they felt they could do more for this community and the kids of this community. It’s incredible.”

The volunteers shopped for five kids in the three-month-old to seven-year-old range.

“We made sure we got a clothing item for each one and we also got a toy for every child,” said volunteer Luke Scruggs. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community in a different way. Just being able to be a part of it is a great experience. And it’s a lot of fun also.”

The Corvallis Fire Department will deliver the presents before Christmas.

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