Our opinion: There when you need them

“Beautiful…nice people.”

That was an elderly Sheffield woman’s exclamation as she climbed out of a raft manned by members of the Glade Township Volunteer Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team.

We second that.

Few people realize the power of water until they witness the devastation it can cause to structures and land, or until they are caught in a current that renders them helpless.

When flooding struck Sheffield last Wednesday – an event that some long-time residents called the worst they’d ever seen – people and property were in peril.

That’s where volunteers from a number of area volunteer fire departments do their quiet self-imposed duty to save lives and property.

It’s not all about fighting fires. Those volunteers are a community’s first line of defense against all manner of calamity, and nature has a habit of periodically proving that, despite man’s best efforts, it is in control.

There were difficult times in Sheffield, and those in the Tan and Horton Street areas are even now assessing the damage to their properties and belongings, but all of them can be thankful that no one died or was seriously injured.

They owe those thanks to members of the Glade Swift Water Team, the Sheffield Volunteer Fire Department, the Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department, as well as volunteers from Ludlow in McKean County and Highland Township in Elk County.

You see, the philosophy of volunteer fire and rescue organizations is that geographic boundaries are pretty meaningless when there is an emergency. If you get the call, you go, just as you know that if you need help, others will be there to help you.