To The Reader's Forum:
Anyone who lives in the village of Lakewood knows how fortunate we are to have the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company at any time of the day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Once a year, they send out a request form to all residents asking for donations to help purchase necessary equipment. As a result of these donations, it helps us, as residents of Lakewood, keep our taxes lower. They receive money to provide services in two different ways. The village provides them with an annual budget. The Fire Department utilizes about 4.5 percent of the village budget by using those funds to purchase equipment, maintain their trucks and station, pay utilities and support their daily expenses. The village also from time to time will purchase them a truck, an ambulance or bond for other large expenses, such as building a fire station as was done in 1995. On the other hand, the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company, which consists basically of members only, also purchases trucks, ambulances and equipment which is donated to the village for protection of its residents. Thus, the donations help them to make those purchases without raising taxes. Not to mention state requirements of additional training, updated equipment and mandated policies that were not funded. For the past few years, they have received less than 50 percent of the requests that were mailed out.
That is simply unacceptable.
They cover approximately 5,000 residents in Lakewood and surrounding areas, all the businesses including the Chautauqua Mall, the Lakewood Plaza, restaurants, dealerships and many others. All of this by volunteers.
With that being said, it is extremely important that everyone who receives a request for a donation to please contribute. Any monies, large or small, will make a difference and certainly these volunteers deserve all the support and assistance they can from the community for everything they do. They go above and beyond to see that the people in our community are taken care of in an emergency. They are professional, caring and compassionate. I know firsthand!
So, folks, when you receive a donation request to the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company, let's strive for 100 percent participation. They are our unsung heroes.