Good Scares: As volunteers and house haunters, firefighters deserve thanks

A certain place on Alameda Road will have the attention of firefighters this week.

It’s not a fire scene but the annual Haunted House staged by firefighters, and friends, as a benefit for Muscular Dystrophy Association.

One of the scariest things about Haunted House happened two years ago when organizer and ghoul-in-chief Paul Henke nearly decided not to stage it in 2012.

Now approaching its 10th year, it’s become an essential part of the Halloween landscape in Hood River, and through the scares that heighten with each new version, it’s important to remember that Haunted House is all about shocks for a cause. Between the Halloween event and the “Fill the Boot” campaign all summer, local firefighters have given extensive energy to raising funds, and awareness, for MDA.

Henke has help from many of his fire department compadres around the county, along with other volunteers. The firefighters’ role in the project constitutes an interesting bit of timing: Haunted House and its many preparations happens during October, which is also Fire Prevention Awareness Month.

It’s not like these folks don’t have plenty to do already. Volunteering to serve on any fire department is a commitment.

Our front page features the Haunted House (with a Kaleidoscope feature coming Oct. 30) as well as “The Slice” article on West Side training officer Josh Beckner, whose job entails training volunteers.

It’s a challenge for most volunteers, as workers, students or and parents, to devote the time for learning and developing their skills. But train they must, and train they do, and the communities owe the volunteers a note of gratitude for dedicating their time in this way.

Hood River County’s departments are fortunate to have a skilled, experienced, devoted cadre of volunteers and paid staff, but the reality for every fire department is they are always in need of more people to accept the responsibility to serve. Anyone interested can contact any fire department and find out how they might fit into the volunteer slate.

But when the alarms sound and the smoke and fire roils, citizens depend on the people who will put on the turnouts and turn hoses in the direction of danger.

Thanks, firefighters and your families, for what you do.

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