Parades highlight first responder roles
In the afterglow of the Lewes Christmas Parade, and before the town’s Christmas tree had even been lit, the volunteer fire department’s siren began to wail. Flashing red and blue emergency lights quickly replaced the cheerful lights of floats that had filled Savannah Road just a few minutes before.
A few blocks from the firehouse, smoke snaked ominously from beneath the eaves and roof of a family’s home on McFee Street.
As volunteers pulled their fire trucks into position and the smoke intensified, neighbors rushed to the aid of the family, taking children into their homes, helping the owners retrieve as many of their valuables as possible, holding their collective breaths as they waited to see whether the smoke would erupt into flames.
In many similar circumstances, that would be the next thing to happen. But in this case, as was the case a few days before at the Red Mill Inn on Route 1, the volunteers, working quickly and professionally, doused the source of the smoke and confined the fire to the attic. Hundreds who had gathered for the parade witnessed the work of the well-trained volunteers. They watched the equipment on display earlier in the parade deployed for its real work.
Although the fire displaced the family, and smoke and water damaged much of their belongings, no one was injured, and the majority of the house remains intact. Had it not been for the quick and effective work of the volunteers, the situation could have been far worse.
The Christmas parades of our region swell the joyful and hopeful spirit of the season. The innocent faces of smiling children marching and riding the floats remind us of the responsibility we all carry for their well-being.
The shining fire trucks mixed in with the floats, the police representatives and the military units of Army Reserve and National Guard also remind us of that responsibility and the hundreds of people who dedicate themselves to serving as first responders.
Our donations and words of encouragement play an essential role in maintaining this community strength. During this season of giving, first responders deserve a place at the top of the list for our gifts and appreciation.