WESTERN, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – The volunteer fire company of Western was described by the town supervisor as the best of the best. The fire company has around 40 members who don’t work on a set schedule, but volunteer when there’s a time of need.
Lately, the community has needed a lot of help from the fire company. An EF-1 tornado touched down on Thursday July 8, and in the following weeks the town was damaged by flooding and continued heavy rainfall.
“It’s really hard to wrap your head around what’s happened to this community and residents in town,” said 1st assistant chief Fred Sherman.
“I have to say that we were prepared for it, because we had a disaster plan in place so we knew what we had to do. We worked with all the agencies that were brought in here, and everybody worked well together and we got things done.”
Fire departments and residents from surrounding towns stepped up to help the town of Western recover. the number of donations and help from the community has been described as overwhelming, but the people who took time to thank the fire company made all the difference.
Chief Mike Anania said, “The appreciation like just recently that people come up to you and say thank you for what you do, it goes a long way.”
The volunteers took time off their jobs and sacrificed family time to be able to help their town after the storms.
“I’m very touched by the commitment that they have given as far as during the time of need for the community,” Anania said. “The last three weeks have been very taxing for us, and some people took off from their own personal jobs to help other people and stuff, and we take away from our families in addition to that . . . without them we wouldn’t exist.”
Diane Butler, the Western town supervisor, had only positive things to say about the role the volunteer fire company plays in the community. “I think that for the town of Western, and we’re a small town, that we have the best of the best of the volunteer fire departments,” she said.
Joining “the best of the best” is simple. “Basically, anybody can volunteer and there’s a range of things that they can do through support groups to being interior fire fighters,” said Anania. “All it takes is an application and you get voted in on membership and you become a member.”
The biggest thing they look for in volunteers is commitment. Applications can be found at the Western fire station on Dunn Brook Road in Western.