This week the community will celebrate the 100th anniversary of continuous fire protection services in Mountain Home.
The department has always enjoyed relatively high esteem among the citizens, and some of the more prominent names in the community have served as volunteer firefighters over the years.
In 1990, the city decided to create the position of a full-time fire chief, selecting Phil Gridley, Jr., for the job. Prior to that, the fire chief position had rotated among members, and there had been somewhat of a social club stigma attached to the department, although its members did a very good job fighting fires.
But while the department was good prior to the selection of Gridley, he has made it great. With a full-time leader, the department has been able to develop extensive training programs that have made it one of the best municipal fire departments in the state.
It still is largely volunteer. Only Gridley, and the recent addition of full-time firefighter Brian Reed, make a living protecting our community.
The rest of the firemen, who live with pagers strapped to their hips or resting on their nightstands, work at their regular jobs throughout the community, but 24/7/365 they are ready to drop whatever they are doing and respond when called.
And while we are praising this fire department, let us also offer our community's appreciation to their wives, families and employers for their understanding and willingness to see these dedicated public servants rush away from them on a moment's notice to save the lives and property of others in one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs around.
Gridley has a good team of officers and regular firemen. They train hard and often and the city has been willing to provide them with the proper equipment to do their jobs well, and as safely as possible.
The city enjoys one of the best fire ratings of any city in the state (keeping your insurance costs low), and as far as we know, Mountain Home is the best overall in Idaho for a city served by a volunteer department.
That's because while they are volunteers, they operate at a professional level. We would stack them up against any full-time fire department in the state. They're that good.
The firemen are one of the true gems of this community, and the Mountain Home Volunteer Fire Department is something in which we should all take pride.
Besides their dangerous duties, they help, through their burnout fund, families whose homes have been destroyed, and they provide the community with its annual Fourth of July fireworks spectacular.
This Saturday, they're throwing a party for the community to help them celebrate their centennial of existence. We should be throwing it for them.
So when you go to the celebration, take a moment to thank each fireman for their service. It's the least we can do to pay them back for the quality service they provide us.