MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. - Visitors to the 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree enjoyed the zip lines, tree house, skate park and many other amenities and activities provided at the nine-day event thanks to the hard work and dedication of many organizations, volunteers and first responders in the local community.
One such group of emergency responders is the firefighters of the Mt. Hope Volunteer Fire Department. However, the small community department isn't alone in their efforts. Six members of the Martinsburg-based 167th Airlift Wing Fire Department have joined forces with local firefighters and the BSA fire team to support the Jamboree.
Josiah Bennett, Mt. Hope Fire Department, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Broschart, a firefighter with the 167th Airlift Wing Fire Department, man the hose during pump training at the Mt. Hope Fire Department on July 17, 2013. Members of the Martinsburg-based Airlift Wing are assisting with missions at the Boy Scout Jamboree and the local station. Members of both stations have also spent time training on each other's equipment. (Photos by Sgt. Anna-Marie Ward, W.Va. National Guard Public Affairs)
“Our mission here is to support the Mt. Hope Fire Department and the community,” said Senior Master Sgt. Bruce Crisman, Assistant Chief of Training, 167th Airlift Wing Fire Department. “Our primary mission is support of the helicopters coming and going up on the Summit ... support of fire suppression up at the camp itself.”
Crisman added they have assisted with heat exhaustion cases, medical calls in the community and a structure fire in nearby Oak Hill. firefighters have also been on the roads when buses brought boy scouts to the Summit site Monday.
Two Air Force firefighters are positioned out at the Summit Bechtel Reserve at all times to assist crews with the scouts. “We've been running medicals and landing helicopters,” said Airman 1st Class Cory Roberts, a firefighter with the 167th Airlift Wing.
The majority of the firefighters' missions have involved medical aid and heat-related illnesses. However, some missions have been more than the men expected. On Tuesday, Summit firefighters were called out to take care of a rattlesnake nest that was discovered on the site.
“Sometimes, when you don't know who to call, you call the fire department,” Crisman said.
“The warmer the weather, the more activity we have,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Gengler, Fire Chief, 167th Airlift Wing Fire Department. “The scouts get somewhat dehydrated, so we're assisting with that.”
In addition to running missions, deflecting wildlife and tending to scouts in need, the two fire crews have taken some time to cross train on each others' equipment and tactics.
“We do day to day training in our career field,” Crisman said. “We also use that training in our job here. We've helped train some of these guys here. It's kind of like sitting around sharing our stories ... it's really great, it works well and we enjoy doing it.”
Volunteers from the Mt. Hope Department have had the opportunity to train on the 167th's P-19 Crash Truck, which has capabilities that the MHVFD vehicles do not. Firefighters also train with each other every day, sharing experiences, tactics and techniques and stories of past missions.
“It's an opportunity to work with other men who have an insight on different things that you never see,” said Lt. Joey Criss, Mt. Hope Volunteer Fire Department. “You can talk to them and they can tell you their experiences and you can tell them your experiences. I think that it is a great opportunity that everyone should have.”
“We're working well together,” Roberts echoed. “I've never met these guys a day in my life but we come together and it's like a big family.”
Crisman added the community has been welcoming of the increase in military personnel. He noted the home-cooked meals from wives, mothers and other residents have added to the group's morale during their time in Fayette County.
“The Mt. Hope Fire Department and the town of Mt. Hope has really been hospitable to us,” he said. “We enjoy helping out with our state and the Boy Scouts.”
More photos available below
By U.S. Army Sgt. Anna-Marie Ward
Provided through DVIDS
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