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Group tries to entice volunteers

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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Searching for Volunteers

SEARCHING FOR VOLUNTEERS – Al Benson with Texas Search and Rescue distributes information about the group’s efforts Saturday during the volunteer fair on the Decatur Square. Several organizations used the event to recruit new hands. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Boyd firefighter Sheridan Rhine stood in the heat throughout Saturday on the Decatur Square, awaiting a chance to entice a prospect to join one of the county’s volunteer fire departments.

“We had a few inquire,” Rhine said. “If we educate one person and get them involved, it’s not a deed unwarranted.

“Wise County is hurting for volunteers. As we progress, volunteers are more scarce, especially with fire seasons like this. Also as the county gets more populated, there’s more calls and more volunteers are needed to keep up.”

Rhine represented the various volunteer fire departments of Wise County at the first volunteer fair that included several non-profit groups and charities.

Melvin Castleberry of the Wise County Red Cross organized the effort to help the different groups attract volunteers.

“My supervisor said I needed to do a recruiting event,” Castleberry said. “I tried to tie in every local group that the United Way supports. I’m grateful for the other non-profits that have been out here sweating it out.”

The volunteer fair started at 10 a.m. and continued until the Chisholm Trail Days parade.

JJ Meyer of Feeding Wise Kids, a group that provides food over the weekends and during the summer for Wise County kids at risk of hunger outside of school hours, said they received some donations Saturday during the event.

“That’s always a positive,” Meyer said. “We feed [kids] 52 weeks per year.”

Texas Search and Rescue had several representatives at the fair, looking to get information out about its Dallas-Fort Worth chapter. The all volunteer group deploys at the request of law enforcement to assist in missing person and body recovery searches. They worked extensively during Hurricane Harvey last year.

“We have people from all walks of life. The big thing is trying to get the word out,” Al Benson said.

Castleberry said the city of Decatur and Wise County provided support for the event along with the United Way.

“We’ve got people already talking about doing it next year,” he said.

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