This month, thank a volunteer — and become one

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Funding for this program comes from the federal government, and it is in jeopardy. Sen. Charles Schumer has called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to renew the financing for the VSP, which is set to run out of money this fall, and we couldn’t agree more. The concept of eliminating funding for a firefighter’s or EMT’s education doesn’t seem logical.

That money is all the more important because it helps to steer a younger generation into the emergency services. If it dries up, more young people will focus on other careers instead of volunteering. Surely there must be better ways to save revenue than by reducing the flow of intelligence, strength and enthusiasm into the corps of volunteers we so badly need.

We must keep our local fire departments vibrant and ensure that the unpaid emergency-services system is sustainable for the long term. Otherwise, we will pay for it in the future. Contact your federal representatives and urge them that funding this program is a priority. It’s a great way to help support your local volunteers — and may spur you to become one of them.

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