A storm hammers Maryville, downing power lines and trees. Lightening causes a home to catch fire. Cars crash in the blinding rain. And the first-responders of Maryville Public Safety's fire division rush to the scene.
Just about everyone, at one time or another, pictures themselves wearing a fire helmet and reflective turnout gear, following the wail of a siren or the crackle of a police scanner to the aid of those in need when things go badly wrong.
Well, if you've got the right stuff, here's your chance to make that daydream a reality. Fire division supervisor Capt. Phil Rickabaugh is looking for a few good people — they're not all men anymore — who have what it takes to join Maryville's "bravest" as volunteer firefighters.
The department, which serves both Maryville and the Polk Township Rural Fire Protection District, will hold a Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment Night at the Maryville Public Safety headquarters, 222 E. Third St., at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19.
Rickabaugh, who is seeking three or four new volunteers, called firefighters a special breed who serve for a variety of reasons. Some like the adrenaline rush, while others want to sharpen their emergency skills.
"But the one common thread that binds them altogether is the desire to help someone in need," he said, adding that the diversity of a largely-volunteer force is exactly what makes it effective.
"These folks bring a lot to the table with what they do away from the department — the knowledge from their day-to-day lives is invaluable," Rickabaugh said. "We have members who are carpenters, work with farm chemicals and machinery, work in local industry and many other occupations."
Recently, several volunteers have left the force, either because of family and career demands or because they "have decided to pass their helmet on to the next generation."
In response, Rickabaugh has initiated an "Answer the Call" campaign in an effort to recruit replacements.
Throughout November, citizens can pick up an application at Maryville City Hall, located at 415 N. Market, or go to www.maryville.org and follow the link to the forms and applications page. Completed applications can be returned to either the fire station or City Hall through Monday, Nov. 26.
Applicants must be in good physical condition, over the age of 18 and reside within the Maryville city limits or the Polk Rural Fire Protection District. For more information, call Rickabaugh at (660) 562-3209.
"Becoming a volunteer firefighter can be the most rewarding experience of your life," Rickabaugh said. "As a member of the Maryville D.P.S fire division/ Polk Rural Fire Protection District you can help ensure that there is always someone there to 'answer the call.'"