Zach SparksHusband-and-wife duo Jesse and Tina Wright received their Volunteer of the Month awards for their dedication to Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company.
Lake Shore VFC Couple Has The Wright Approach To Volunteerism
For Jesse and Tina Wright, Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company is a second home. A married couple with four kids, the Wrights joined Lake Shore VFC in 2008. By 2009, they were riding members – Tina as an emergency medical technician and Jesse as a firefighter. “It’s a good way to give back to the community,” Tina said.
Jesse beamed when discussing his inspiration for joining. “Living in Baltimore City in the early to mid ‘80s, I remember my father and uncle pulling out a ladder and making a rescue in a burning building,” Jesse said. “If you’re an adrenaline junkie, there’s no better way – for lack of a better word – to get that fix.”
Not only have they “got their fix,” but the Wrights have filled several holes for the department. Tina is the department’s recording secretary and Jesse is a three-time Firefighter of the Year. He also chairs the awards banquet, which bestows recognition upon his fellow volunteers.
“We don’t do this for a pat on the back,” Jesse said of being a firefighter, “but a pat on the back is appreciated. We don’t get many of those in the field.”
With Lake Shore VFC’s carnival running from April 20 through April 29, they both have their hands full. Tina oversees other volunteers in the food tent while Jesse works in the pits preparing food. It’s a task Jesse is used to as he’s one of three cooks for the department’s frequent pit beef sales, which account for roughly 30 to 40 percent of the department’s fundraising. Lake Shore VFC depends on sales to fund operational costs.
Jesse praised auxiliary member Theresa Clark for “pounding the pavement and beating down doors” to get businesses to donate to the carnival raffle. Items vary from automotive repair to lawn services and gift certificates. But there are plenty of other reasons for families to stop by.
“We don’t charge for the midway, we don’t charge for admission,” Jesse said. “You want to stroll around with your family and look around, that’s fine. You want to get a wristband, that’s great. We want you to be there because you want to be there, not because we’re making you be there.”
Even though he is a respected firefighter who helps with the carnival, awards banquet and several other events, Jesse said his favorite role is mentoring youth as part of the junior firefighters program.
“Seeing these kids grow from age 12, we respond to calls with them,” he said. “…Once they turn 16, they can get training from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. That’s the epitome of giving back, because they’re the ones who will inevitably replace you.”
Lake Shore VFC is always looking for new members, not only firefighters but also volunteers to help with administrative matters and fundraising events. For more information, click on the “Join Us” tab at www.lsvfc.com.
Other upcoming community events include bingo on May 7, Comedy Night on May 12, pit beef sales on May 13 and May 27 and a crab feast on September 30. “We’re more than just responding to calls and fundraising,” Tina said of Lake Shore VFC.