Dear Editor

I would like to believe that in times not too long ago, volunteering was something most people got actively involved in simply for the betterment of their community as a whole. In today's fast paced world it seems easier to forget than to accept this responsibility and unfortunately volunteer numbers have suffered.

Here's hope that everyone noticed the Pennsylvania State Firemen's Convention held last week, as well as the tremendous amount of time and effort spent by the Albrightsville and Lake Harmony volunteers to bring such a grand event to our area. Equally important, take a minute to review the awards list to see how many of your local community volunteers brought home accolades.

In Carbon County alone Summit Hill, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Jim Thorpe, Bowmanstown, Aquashicola, Palmerton, and Weatherly all brought home proof that they are the best of the best of emergency responders state wide. Don't forget Tuscarora, Slatington, Walnutport and other local communities as well.

Also know that these people volunteer not for the trophy that they bring home, but rather for the pride they have in the community they serve, humbly making sacrifices to create a better place to live.

Recent studies consistently show the greatest threat to volunteer fire emergency operations is difficulties obtaining sufficient funds and staff. Therefore, in light of all of the recent hoopla surrounding the volunteer emergency responders, here's your chance to get involved. Take some time to look around your community, notice who is volunteering, support them in everyway possible, and ask how you can help out. Show your children and your neighbors the importance of volunteerism. Donate your time as you are able. If you don't think you have any time, try donating a few dollars.

Carbon County and surrounding areas have a long standing history of providing quality volunteer emergency services response to the beautiful communities where we live. The events of this past week solidify how far this deep rooted pride and tradition continues today. Find a way to say thank you for a job well done.

Way to go brothers,

Jay Michalik

Mahoning Valley