TYE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Tye Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) issued a call to the community, highlighting a pressing need for firefighters as the demand for dedicated volunteers surpasses the current supply.
Beaux Newlun works in the snake removal business. He told KTAB/KRBC he chose this profession because he loves helping people, but he also helps people in other ways, including working as one of 20 Tye VFD’s volunteer firefighters.
“When that adrenaline is pumping, and you got work to do, you’re not focused on anything else,” illustrated Newlun.
On the day-to-day, Newlun works across the Big Country to remove snakes and other wildlife from homes. But when he gets a call about a fire, he drops everything to respond.
“Money isn’t everything, and a lot of people think that, but as soon as they see the smile of helping someone or the feeling of pulling someone out in a vehicle, anything like that, they’re hooked,” Newlun explained.
Tye VFD’s Chief Shawn Hicks told KTAB/KRBC volunteer fire departments from all over have been facing staffing shortages.
“Here in Tye, we have a population of about 1,200, and only three members actually live in Tye, so you have the rest responding from Abilene, Taylor County, and Jones County,” said Chief Hicks.
As the demand for dedicated volunteers surpasses the current supply, Hicks said it puts some emergencies in even greater jeopardy.
“[It] Creates a delay in the response from our apparatus, so it takes us longer to get to the scene and that could mean the difference of saving a home, saving a life,” Chief Hicks listed. “So, we need more people that are closer to the station to assist.”
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has jumped in to help with recruitment, according to Hicks, “Other advanced training is put on at area schools across the state, and that’s paid for by grants by the U.S. Forest Service.”
This fire chief recently issued a call to the community to join the team via a post to the Tye Fire Department Facebook page.
“Helping somebody that you don’t know, and they thank you for it, that goes a long way,” added Chief Hicks.
Those interested in joining can visit the Tye VFD on 221 North Street every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for training or to learn more. You may also follow this link to submit your application. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply. Chief Hicks said there are positions other than firefighter open within Tye VFD, like drivers, pump operators, and emergency medical services.