The sound of sirens and the flash of lights permeated the quiet, tranquil, otherwise peaceful existence of the small, sleepy town of Rockford a few days ago.
Rockford Volunteer Fire and Rescue was dispatched west of Rockford for a medical call. Tina (who is now an official member of the department) and I took Rescue 1, responded to the call. We spent time taking vitals and preparing the patient for transport by Kellyton Medics.
How very thankful I was to look up to see Ed and Bruce arrive to take care of this sweet lady who had fallen. Sometimes I forget to say a thank you to the team of VOLUNTEERS from the Kellyton Fire Department who make up the ambulance service crew, who give unselfishly and humbly of their time, talents and treasures to assist us in Rockford. My hat is off to you guys today…Thank You for being available and such a huge help to all of the departments in Coosa County.
Soon as our patient was turned over to Kellyton Medics and en route to the hospital, we heard Equality being dispatched to a potential fire in our jurisdiction. Last year Rockford Fire and Rescue signed an Automatic Aid Agreement with Equality and Richville Fire Departments, so we would have the manpower and equipment to protect our own. Both departments are to be commended for their willingness to work together with us in protecting not only our own borders, but the entire south end of the county.
Well, since we were complete with our assignment and closer to the scene, I called Al and asked him if he wanted us to respond as well. He agreed and we were en route. Tina and I left one call to go directly to the next call, while our chief and two of our firefighters went to the station to pick up the engine and brush truck.
As Rescue 1 crossed through the four-way in downtown Rockford, Al Bradley informed us over the radio that the call was in regards to suspicious smoke behind Alma Dunlap’s house. Tina and I exchanged looks of concern and continued with a new sense of purpose and determination.
To us everyone is special in Rockford; we are family and we take care of family. That is the primary purpose we do all that we do for our neighbors and friends. But Alma Dunlap is one of the very special people in Rockford and at the Baptist Church.
A few weeks ago, Ms. Alma celebrated her birthday. That morning I stopped by her Sunday School class and sang my favorite song and then asked her how old she was. I know, a man is not suppose to ask a woman how old she is nor ask what she weighs; at least I did not ask the latter.
With that beautiful smile and the twinkle in her eyes, she said, “I’m proud to tell you, I am 94 years old.” During the morning worship service we sang to her and made her feel like the queen she is; my oldest church member.
But someone had seen smoke at Alma’s and this concerned me. I could see her out there beating flames with a pine top, trying to put out the fire all by herself, because that is the way Alma would have it-being the independent and capable person she is.
When we arrived at her driveway, Ms. Alma’s car was not in the carport and we did not see smoke. We drove out to the barn; still no smoke. We looked into the woods; and there was no smoke. Approaching the rear to the house, Tina saw the smoke; it was coming from a burn barrel beside the carport.
As we were checking the barrel, Tina saw a car coming from the barn and it was Ms. Alma coming back from the fish pond. Hesitantly, Alma pulled up to the back of the house and opened the door. We explained why we were there and she laughed, explaining she had been down at the fish pond, rowing and praying and fertilizing the pond.
We were having a good laugh when she heard the sirens of the fire trucks and said, “Well, guess you two need to go help someone else, because there goes two more fire trucks.”
“Ms. Alma, they are coming here,” Tina said.
Well, to say the least, we embarrassed her sufficiently. We did not mean to, but it just so happened that way, cause we ended up with the smoke from a burn barrel, a fire engine, the brush truck, the Rescue and a neighbors golf cart in the yard at one time.
She covered well, and asked that we pray since we were all there. So we bowed our heads and prayed for Ms Alma. That is the way I wish all our calls would end; happily, praying and praising God for His goodness and His kindness toward us, His people.
Today, “Praise the Lord…declare [His] faithful love in the morning and [His faithfulness at night.” (Psalm 92:1-2 HCSB)