COLUMN: Monticello Fire Department comes through for one of its own

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   A couple of months ago at our monthly fire department meeting you could hear a pin drop. Our chief, Don McCarthy informed us that he had just found out he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It was an emotional moment for all of us.

     Some of Don’s close friends on the department already had been given the news, so that evening the wheels were put in motion for the department to host a benefit to help offset the many expenses that Don and his family will incur as he battles this terrible disease.

     A committee was formed that included current members and retirees from the department. Others outside the department joined in to help organize as well. Jobs were assigned, our families were included and off we all ran, trying to make our benefit come together.

     The Monticello and surrounding communities were so generous to our department, offering auction items (over 300 were collected), money, donations of time and goods and services.

     Area fire departments helped us out as well. Some donated money, held a motorcycle ride to raise funds or offered their time.

     The day of the event was more than we could ever have imagined. We fed close to 800 guests and many more showed up to bid on an item, to offer a hug or drop off a donation.

     When I joined the Monticello Fire Department close to 25 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. What I discovered was that every year I have served there are 34 other guys that would give you the shirt off their backs if needed.

     Not only are they dedicated to our community, they are committed to serving the needs of our citizens by spending countless hours training or sandbagging during a flood or teaching fire safety at our schools.

     If an organization needs a truck brought to an event or wants to ride atop one during a parade, the department answers the call.

     We are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are away from our families and often get paged out during holidays and family events. We all share a bond that I can’t even describe. Being part of the Monticello Fire Department has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

     So it’s no surprise that when we needed to answer a call as big as the one Don and his family are going through, we all showed up and put our arms around Don and embraced his family.



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