I stood beside the demolition derby action shooting photo after photo of the ongoing carnage. As vehicles (that were once someone's pride and joy) spent the last few moments of their motorized life crashing and banging around the derby ring in waves of organized chaos, I engaged in casual conversation with the Edwardsburgh-Cardinal firefighter who was standing behind me. He stood under the warm fall sunshine, loaded in full gear ready to intervene if, and more inevitably when, one of the cars literally went out in a blaze of glory.
In-between the rounds of metal munching and mashing, during one of my constant strolls around the fair grounds, someone else approached me.
"They were out until four in the morning putting out a fire, you know," she said, with a palatable amount of respect and awe in her voice. "There was a house fire near our place."
And there, in one simple statement was a verbal picture, painted to perfection, of the life of our volunteer men and women that make up the ECFD...or any other FD for that matter.
The key word is volunteer. These people, the ones who are ready to get up in the middle of the night, rain or shine, 365 days per year to leave the security and sanctuary of their own homes and families, on a moment's notice...in order to battle to save your families and homes...do it all not by remuneration... but by choice.
And if that isn't enough, when they are not fighting fires or attending to the accident scenes, they offer up their spare "spare time" to assist in community events. This past weekend saw the ECFD participating in the fair parade, fund-raising on the fair grounds, standing guard at the derby and other events, actually putting a car of their own into the demolition derby...and even putting out fires until the wee, wee hours of the morning.
There are not enough words in existence to attest to the value of the men and women who give so much of themselves to make my community (and all of yours) a better place to live. So let me end with a Spencerville Fair picture of our very own hometown heroes.