The Jay Township Volunteer Fire Company, which serves both Jay and Benezette townships, is attempting to proactively combat its declining membership by holding an informational meeting for individuals who may be interested in volunteering in an emergency or non-emergency setting. The meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the township fire hall on Cleveland Street.
According to fire chief John Schneider, the declining membership is due both to members retiring and to a general loss of interest in the department by the community.
"Probably within the last 10 years, at one time we were up over 40 members. We're down to 24 now. Our average age is 45, and members have an average of 17 years of service," Schneider said.
He explained that the department is looking to approach the membership decline from two different angles: auxiliary members and active members.
"We're looking for auxiliary members, which would be people who volunteer in a non-emergency setting, such as helping with fundraisers or if they have a special talent that we could use for maintenance of vehicles, building maintenance, whatever it may be," Schneider said.
Any individuals interested in volunteering as auxiliary members can contact Ron Brouse at 787-5004.
Active firemen are also being sought, and Schneider explained that the department is hoping to start a junior program to encourage younger residents to get involved with the fire department. Individuals interested in joining the department as active members can contact Schneider at 787-5164 if they have any questions.
Individuals who are interested in volunteering in either capacity are asked to attend the meeting on Wednesday evening.
Any individuals who are interested in volunteering with the Jay Township Volunteer Fire Company, but who are unable to attend Wednesday evening's meeting, are asked to call either Schneider or Brouse and they will meet with them one-on-one at another time.