Fireman’s Ball raising money for good cause

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 19, 2001

What little boy hasn’t dreamed of riding in the big truck? Few young boys can resist the temptation – cool uniforms, even cooler equipment and that’s not saying a thing about blowing the siren.

Yes, it’s true that at some point many little boys dream of growing up and becoming firemen.

Then, as reality sets in, most guys realize two things: Firefighting isn’t nearly as glamorous when you understand how dangerous it is, and being a firefighter is much more difficult than it looks on television.

Yet for some reason, firefighting is still a fascinating profession.

Unfortunately firefighting – like law enforcement – is one of those professions that most folks take for granted until suddenly everything comes crashing down.

Then firefighters look like angels running toward your burning house or reaching into your crumpled car to offer assistance.

Let’s face it, a special kind of person is required to run toward a burning building.

And thank God those people exist.

Natchez has for many years had one of the best fire departments in Mississippi but getting there hasn’t been easy.

Funding for trucks and equipment is hard to come by. Case in point: Natchez and Adams County only has one set of the Jaws of Life – and that set is nearly 20 years old.

The Jaws are crucial for rescue workers to extricate people from auto accidents and other situations where human strength won’t help.

In seconds a firefighter using the Jaws of Life can safely cut a crushed mass of metal apart to free an injured person.

We hope and pray that we will never need the Jaws of Life, but unfortunately tragic accidents happen and when they do we need the people who respond to be equipped with the latest technology available.

And this Friday night you can help – and have fun at the same time.

At 8 p.m. the fourth annual Fireman’s Ball will kick off at the Radisson Natchez Eola Hotel downtown. Proceeds from the event will help purchase a second set of the Jaws of Life. Last year’s event raised about half of the needed funds.

This year marks the first year that the Natchez Firefighters Association has taken the reigns of the ball. The event was begun four years ago by a class of the Leadership Natchez program.

Proceeds from the first and second Fireman’s Ball helped the Natchez Fire Department buy a thermal imaging camera. The camera lets firefighters quickly scan a building and search for people inside. It is another valuable tool that improves our fire department and makes living in Natchez a little safer.

Nearly two dozen area businesses are helping sponsor this year’s event.

Entertainment will be provided by &uot;Rodney Island.&uot;

Hors d’oeuvres and beer will be provided. The event is certain to be a four-alarm good time and great cause – and one that should interest us all.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door or from any Natchez firefighter.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail at kevin.cooper@ natchezdemocrat.com.