By Gwen Sisson
Paula Rumore said working as a volunteer for the Eupora Fire Department is about helping others.
“Helping people when
they are hurting, but also being an extra pair of hands for the paramedics,” Rumore said.
Rumore’s dad, Clayton Allen, and her husband, Howard Rumore, have both served as volunteer firemen over the years, so helping out was just something she has always been willing to do with her family.
Many women volunteer with the Webster County volunteer fire departments, serving in various capacities. Many, like Rumore, have emergency healthcare training in their current profession and volunteer to work with the paramedics, while others serve as firefighters and wherever they are needed.
Richard Love, deputy fire coordinator for Webster County, said the ladies volunteering with the fire department play an important role. Love said “we could not do it without them!”
Natalie Medders said she doesn’t have one specific reason why she volunteers with the Eupora Fire Department.
“I grew up here in Eupora,” Medders said. “I love my little hometown. I joined the EFD to serve and protect my community last year.”
But just joining the Eupora Fire Department wasn’t enough for Medders. She wanted to do more, so she trained to become a certified firefighter through the Mississippi State Fire Academy. And it wasn’t long before she signed up to become an emergency medical responder for the fire department.
“When that tone drops and duty calls it’s an amazing feeling yet at the same time its a sense of uncertainty as to what type of call its going to be,” Medders said. “You never know but it’s all worth it at the end of the day when you get the satisfaction of saving someone’s house, loading them up in that ambulance or cutting someone out of a car. The Eupora Fire Department is so much more to me than a fire department … we are family. We are a team. We are trained and good at what we do. To be a part of this family is all the satisfaction one could ask for.”
Patricia Pilkington serves as captain of the Maben Fire Department. She joined Maben in 2013 when she became a stay-at-home mom.
“I have always loved helping people,” Pilkington said. “The blessings you get just knowing you were there to lend a helping hand or ear. My daughter Katelyn also wanted to join but she has two more months before she can. I thought what better way to show her as she grows into adulthood how to be there for someone else.”
Pilkington said the guys at Maben Fire Department took both her and her daughter in “a year and a half ago and have become our brothers and sister (Amy).”
Pilkington serves as an emergency medical responder and certified ground technician — she operates the trucks and sees that all of the volunteer firefighters are completely ready to head into a fire safely.
She helps the volunteers change out their air tanks and make sure they are physically and mentally able to gear up and go back in to a structure fire or accident scene. She also fills out incident reports and aids in cleanup as the crew heads back to the station.
Amy Booth said serving on the volunteer fire department is important to her because it allows her the opportunity to help her community in a way that she would otherwise not have been able. Booth works full time as an emergency room registered nurse at North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora and said she felt that being a part of the Mathiston and Maben fire departments could allow her to further help her community.
“I enjoy being able to help those in need and it gives me a feeling of fulfillment in volunteering,” Booth said. “Without the encouragement of my husband, Tom Booth, who is a captain of the Mathiston Fire Department, I would not have realized by joining, the enjoyment and the need in my community. It made me understand that emergency care and volunteering with the fire department is definitely my professional calling.”
Booth has been a member of the Mathiston Fire Department for seven years and she hopes to continue serving many more.
“I feel and understand the importance of volunteering with Mathiston Fire and I have realized the special type of person it takes,” Booth said.
“You have to be able to jump up at a moment’s notice to aid someone in need. Time from your family, up at all hours of the night and responding in all types of weather are some of the sacrifices we as volunteers make to help someone who needs medical help, has a house fire or is involved in a car crash.
“It really makes you think about the job that you do and sets you in a special class of men and women who wish to serve their community as volunteer firefighters. Being a volunteer gives me a feeling that at times cannot be explained. We are truly brothers and sisters in a special kind of way.”
For more information about volunteering with the volunteer fire departments in Webster County, contact Love or stop by the Eupora, Maben, Walthall or Mathiston City Hall offices for volunteer applications.