The initial mission of JROTC is to motivate young people to be better citizens, and that’s just what Beaver Area’s Battalion chooses to promote.
A part of being a better citizen is thinking of your community rather than just yourself. One of the seven army values that promotes thinking of others rather than yourself is selfless service. In the Beaver Area JROTC, eight cadets have chosen to take selfless service to another level outside of the JROTC program. These eight cadets are not only in JROTC, but also volunteer for the local fire departments.
JROTC cadets can choose to participate in community service such as selling refreshments at community events, picking up trash around these events, placing flags on graves for Memorial Day, ensuring trick-or-treat safety, helping during Beaver’s annual Light-Up Night, the service learning project each year, and much more.
However, these eight cadets truly put the welfare of others before themselves by volunteering at the fire department: seniors Caleb Starkey, Austin Crawford, Jacob Landis, and Delaney Young; junior Jordan Lohry; sophomores Ezra Maize and Ava Haverstock; and freshman Emma Capers.
Collectively, these cadets volunteer at three different local volunteer fire stations: Beaver, Bridgewater, and Brighton Township.
Lohry, who decided to take the leap of faith and become a firefighter, said, “Over the summer I got to meet and become friends with some of the firefighters at my local volunteer fire station. After getting to see what they do in the department, I started to admire how they were selflessly giving back to our community and wanted to do the same.”
The cadets take time out of their day to attend fire trainings (typically once or twice a week) and drop what they’re doing on a moment’s notice to assist on fire calls when they can. Since all of the cadets are considered junior firefighters because they are under 18, they cannot go into burning buildings for safety reasons. However, this doesn’t make their volunteering any less beneficial.
“At fire practice we typically throw ladders or hit the hydrant. I haven’t been in the department for very long, but I have learned how to set up and take down three different size ladders: 14 foot, 24 foot, and 35 foot. We have also covered how to connect the hose to the hydrant and flow water to the truck. Soon we will be covering the high rise packs, A.K.A the really long hose that goes up tall building if they are on fire,” explained Haverstock.
The junior firefighters act as “gofers” or assistants to carry equipment for the senior firefighters (firefighters over 18) on fire calls. They are also permitted to work the hydrants by attaching the hoses to get the water flowing which assists the senior firefighters while they go into the burning building.
The junior firefighters can practice multiple things at trainings. For an example, they go through drills so they know exactly what to do in case of an emergency when the fire calls do come through. They can also prepare ladders by setting them up in advance, set up scene lighting, learn about the equipment, prepare the trucks, and more.
Fires aren’t the only type of call the junior firefighters attend. Along with fire calls they attend accidents, gas leaks, fire alarms, and assist in forcing entry to buildings. Similar to JROTC, the junior firefighters also attend community service events. Whether it’s handing out water at 5Ks or patrolling big events in Beaver, the firefighters are always willing to lend a helping hand to their community.
“Being there to help others when it matters the most, being called to action by nothing more than a sound on my phone, that makes me love firefighting,” said Maize.
The selfless service these cadets demonstrate sets a standard for our community. These eight cadets put their community before themselves by volunteering for the fire department as well as serving in their community through JROTC. The impact their service has on our community is tremendous and their efforts should not be looked over. Selfless service is just one of the seven army values, but that doesn’t make it any less important, our firefighters show that to us.