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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 2:36 p.m.

The recent deaths of 10 volunteer first responders in West, Texas, bring to light the ultimate sacrifice those individuals made for their community. Unfortunately, the awful events in Boston overshadowed their story. Regardless, it should remind us of the many dedicated volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics in the Alle-Kiski Valley who risk their lives almost daily to protect and aid their fellow citizens.

Risking one's life for others, for free, is about as great a sacrifice as one can make. These folks stand ready 24 hours a day to answer a call that jeopardizes their lives. There is risk in rushing to the fire station and riding to an emergency scene, then entering a dangerous situation. Our volunteers do this regardless of time of day or weather conditions because they have a strong desire to serve others.

Too many people forget about these volunteers or take them for granted until they need them. But when it's your house on fire, your family member in a car accident or your friend having a heart attack, these volunteers are most important people in your life.

Remember that the next time they ask for your support — they raise funds to keep helping you. It's not “someone else's responsibility,” it's everyone's responsibility

Or go one better and join one of these organizations — they all need more members. Any teenager or young adult should consider joining the local fire company. Parents should know there's worse things their kids could be doing. This is a way to meet great people, learn lots of new things, develop responsibility, improve self-esteem and pump up that resume.

Tim Kaczmarek


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