There are a lot of things going on this weekend around the area. There is of course the Neosho Business and Industry Review on Friday and Saturday (see Wednesday's edition for the story). Then there is the Stark City Fire Department annual chili supper and auction (see today's edition for a story). I encourage everyone to attend either one or both of these events.
After I wrote the preview story about the chili supper, I remembered a couple of times when the fire department would help Newtonia residents in their time of need.
The first was back sometime in the 1980s. It was late in the evening, when we saw flames and smoke just down the road from my parents' house. It was the home of Wayne Parks. My mom was returning from Neosho errands with my two aunts, and dad was at the house with Greg and I. Within seconds, my dad went down the street to help out any way he could. As he arrived, there were firefighters from the Stark City Volunteer Fire Department, battling the blaze. I remember walking down and seeing the Parks family with a few items from their home.
The firefighters continued to battle the blaze for a few hours.
Over the years, the fire department has helped in grass fires not only in Stark City, but in Newtonia and the surrounding areas.
Another instance that I remember these firefighters donating their time to help others was back in 2008, when the tornado came through devastating portions of Southwest Missouri including Newtonia.
I didn't know what the tornado had done until I arrived. I parked my car near Mill Street in Newtonia, saw electrical power lines down, trees – both big and small – over the roadway getting into Newtonia. As I approached Mill Street, I saw there were firefighters from the neighboring town of Stark City. They were lending hands to the neighbors, making sure that everyone was OK.
Folks, what I am trying to get out is these firefighters in Stark City are volunteers, they don't get paid. On the volunteer basis, departments rely on fundraisers to help them keep afloat. These firefighters cover countless miles to fight fires, help others through devastating times and even as EMR (emergency medical responder, formerly named first responders).
The latter brings me to another time that one of these firefighters/EMR helped my dad.
A couple of years ago, my dad was having breathing problems. Mom called 9-1-1 and within seconds, Ed Schultz, who is not only the mayor of Stark City but also a volunteer firefighter/EMR, responded to my parents' house. Ed helped stabilize Dad and helped get him into the ambulance.
I say it again, if you have the opportunity this weekend, attend one or both of these events. And as far as the chili supper and auction, just think of what the money could be used for to help these volunteer firefighters.
Page 2 of 2 - Todd G. Higdon is a staff writer and writes a weekly column for the Neosho Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on twitter at @toddghigdonNDN.