Having a few fire fighters in the family, I am very much in tune with the men and women who offer their tireless heartfelt commitment, sacrifices, and bravery to insure the safety of us all in the community. I believe the City must foster a closer association to support their endeavors to keep abreast of modern technology, training, and fund-raising.
First agenda item after assuming office as your Mayor will be to arrange for myself and the safety officer to meet with emergency responders to hear first hand their issues and concerns, and to explore how best the City Council can assist them meet their objectives.
Recruitment – Mentoring Program
From my discussions with fire company personnel, it would appear that a major issue is recruitment of young people currently coming up through the ranks. This is a huge concern, as what will happen to our city when the current generation is no longer able to fulfill their vital roles? I propose emergency responders of all departments, the safety officer, and myself speak with Superintendent Kelly of Shikellamy School District to see if a mentoring program can be introduced for high school students. This will permit the youth to discover for themselves the potential for such a role of responsibility to assist in their personal growth and development, broaden their horizons, and achieve a personal self-satisfaction of providing a positive service to the entire community.
Key to the future of our fire fighters will be the opportunity to develop premier training facilities. The fire company training ground on Walnut Street Extension, across from the Silk Mill, has so much potential. I would like to work with both the property owners and all fire companies to see how best we can enhance training. Strategically developed, this area could become a center of training not just for Sunbury, but for fire companies throughout the Commonwealth.
Grant monies also play an important role for this department. Currently, much of their funding is dependent upon state level grants. In the private sector, I am familiar with grant applications. I believe I can assist them in the successful acquisition of state level grants, as well as finding new resources from both federal and private funding.
I shall assure all fire companies they will be permitted to organize their fund raising events at their individual stations. I also feel the focal point of the annual Firemen’s Fair should return to Market Street to accommodate those within walking distance, such as our seniors.
Please check back with my blog on a regular basis for updates on my plans for rebuilding our city.