We sometimes take for granted the advantages of living in a small town.

Members of the Diligence Fire Company in Summit Hill reminded us of this on Monday. They responded to an emergency call. What they did after that was well above the call of duty.

A large section of exterior wall fell from the roof area of a house on West White Street. Engineers came and inspected the property and deemed it was not safe, so they condemned it.

There was concern more bricks could fall from the house and cause damage to a neighboring dwelling. So, the firefighters – all volunteers – contacted the owner of the Panther Valley Lumber store in Lansford, who opened the business just for them so they could get the supplies they needed.

Incidentally, Monday was the Labor Day holiday – a day off from work for most of us.

The firefighters carted plywood and supplies to the site, and built a professional-style, eight-foot high fence as a barricade against falling brick and mortar.

The fence was 36-feet long.

More than one onlooker commented that where else but in a small town would you see such a kind, neighborly gesture.

Often we complain about small-town politics, lack of major shopping centers in small towns, and other things that are missing from major cities.

Small towns, though, have a unique brotherhood as evidenced by these firefighters. In most small towns, people generally do help each other when duty calls. They watch out for each other.

We all know that firefighters do more than fight fires. They do rescue and clean-up work at accident scenes, help with river and lake rescues, help during floods or evacuation events, find time to train extensively, do fund raising duties, wash and maintain fire apparatus, and, yes, if needed they rescue kittens from trees.

Building a holding fence from scratch is a new task for the Diligence Fire Company members. Those volunteers easily could have called it a day after responding to the building collapse. They could have spent the remainder of Labor Day with their families. The could have been relaxing on the last holiday of summer, or having a picnic, or attending nearby Zoostock.

Instead, they chose to help a neighbor in need, and possibly stopping another problem from occurring.

The house from where the bricks fell was occupied by Ken Cathcart, who resided here with his girlfriend and two children. He moved here from the Philadelphia area.

When his house was condemned on Monday, he initially had no place to take his family.

A nearby resident approached him and told him, "You and your family can stay with us until you find a place."

"Wow," he said, "That would have never happened in Philly."

We don't know if Cathcart took the neighbor up on the offer, but he's right. It won't happen in too many other places.

It still happens in our area where residents feel a bond toward each other.

In many ways, it gives us a really big advantage over virtually any city.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com