Family and personal relationships bring most volunteers into local fire companies.
Keeping them there and turning them into active firefighters and rescue personnel takes time and dedication. About half of them stay through the years-long process.
Southern End fire companies are working together to make the lengthy training process easier for new recruits.
Last year, Quarryville Fire Company's special division expanded their spring vendor and craft shows to two buildings at the Solanco Fairgrounds.
This year, the volunteers will also be using two buildings but replaced the Hoffman Building with one of the fair association's larger structures.
"We're going to be using the Kreider Building and Building #7," volunteer Meghan Cross said. "We have outgrown the Hoffman Building."
Members of Quarryville Fire Company's special division will be holding their first Easter flower sale on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20.
"We’re not out there to make people mad. We're not out there to just order people around. We're not trying to disrupt people's lives for no reason."
That's how Quarryville Fire Police Officer Ronald Swayne describes his volunteer duties directing traffic around emergency scenes.
by Bud Hart
When Phil and Kristen Rutt left Quarryville to become the new owners of the Buffalo, Wyoming, Triple Three Outfitters, six volunteer firemen began plans to visit the Rutts to harvest a Wyoming wild turkey, introduced into the state in 1935. “We started discussing the possibility of this trip more than a year and a half ago,” said Scott Kreider.
Santa will be making another early stop in the Southern End.
He will be at the Quarryville Fire Company station, 217 E. State St., on Friday evening, December 15, to spend time with children and their parents.
Volunteer firefighters will provide crafts and cookies and give parents time to take pictures with Santa.
This year, there will be ribs as well as chicken at the annual Quarryville Fire Company benefit barbecue.
The barbecue, sponsored by Ferguson & Hassler Supermarket and held in the store's parking lot, will offer the traditional half chicken meal on Thursday, July 13.
Last year, their show drew 27 vendors.
This year, members of Quarryville Fire Company's Special Division added crafters to their spring show.
The new engine bays being built on the south end of Quarryville's fire station should be ready for use by May.
"It could be as early as April if the weather holds," said Ron Swayne, chairman of the fire company's building committee.
"We're three-quarters of the way done, due in large part to the weather," he said last week.
The work got off to a late start. The volunteers expected to begin construction early last summer, but delays in finalizing a mortgage with BB&T Bank put the work on hold until October 31, 2016.
That meant the start date actually came two weeks after the original completion date.
Last year, volunteers didn't know what to expect when they decided to revive an old tradition. "We had done it years ago and we got to talking about it. That's when we decided we would start it up again," said Lori Swayne.
Quarryville Fire Company's volunteers expected to move apparatus into the addition to their fire station by the middle of October.
The volunteers had the site excavated early this past summer. But construction didn't start until October 31, two weeks after the original completion date.
Vendors and crafters will be using all of the expanded Hoffman Building when they set up for the annual Quarryville Fire Company Special Division's Christmas bazaar on November 19.
"We will have over 30 this year. Because the building was expanded, we will have more space this year," said special division president Lori Singles.
Aiden Weaver's five and too young to join the fire company.
But this past summer he braved the heat to raise enough money to feed Quarryville's volunteer firefighters and the borough's police officers.
Aiden, came up with the plan on his own.
Ultimately, the goal is to bring in enough money to operate the fire company and pay off the building project.
The annual boot drive can't do that alone, but it can help, said Quarryville Fire Company President Sherry Wertz.
The drive is a joint effort of fire company volunteers and 11 area restaurants. An empty fire boot is in each establishment with a sign asking patrons to make a donation.
Members of Quarryville Fire Company's auxiliary will be holding their second annual vendor sale later this month.
The inaugural event drew 17 vendors. By last week, 26 vendors had signed up for the 2016 sale.
"We have more variety this year," said auxiliary member Danielle Worrell. "They will be offering makeup, jewelry, household items such as Tupperware, and a lot of healthy, alternative items."
Firefighters are used to the heat.
But they won't be wearing protective turnout gear when they face grills full of burning charcoal later this month.
Nor will they be trying to put out the fires, which can bring them thousands of dollars in needed money.
The volunteers will spend two days tending portable barbecue pits, helping cook more than 2,000 chicken halves on Thursday, July 14, and Friday, July 15.
For months, Quarryville's volunteer firefighters have been collecting information about locations in their first-due district.
Now, thanks to a donation from Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community, they will be able to access it as they respond to an alarm.
The retirement community donated five iPad pro tablet computers and a mini iPad to the firefighters. The tablets will be mounted in the fire company's two engines, rescue truck, ladder truck, tank truck, and command vehicle.
When members of Quarryville Fire Company's special division went shopping for a new grill, they had $500 to spend.
Their first stop was Martin Appliances, where they told store personnel how much they could afford.
The store's management didn't think the firefighters should have to spend that much for a grill - so they donated one.
Some come from families with long histories of volunteering with local fire companies. Others have no family firefighting tradition when they join the Quarryville Fire Company.
But the younger members of the all-volunteer company share a desire to help the community and learn new skills.
"When I see people in need, I want to be able to help," said Sarah Jones.
Jones is one of nearly a dozen young members, some just 15 years old, who have joined the fire company in recent years. She has been pleasantly surprised by the reception she's received.
In a hearing that lasted just under 20 minutes, Quarryville Borough's zoning hearing board approved a special exception and two variances that will allow Quarryville Fire Company to add on to its E. State St. station.
Quarryville Fire Company volunteers want to know more about the businesses in their response area.
"We want to know what the layout of the building is, who's inside, and what's inside," said Lt. Rick Hall. "One of our biggest concerns is to get the occupants out safely in case of a fire. We are also concerned about firefighter safety and what hazards we may face inside the building."
It's a fundraising tradition almost as old as volunteer fire companies.
Firefighters stand near an intersection and ask passing drivers and pedestrians to fill a fire boot with donations.
Quarryville firefighters did just that on Friday night, July 29. Standing at the intersection of State and 4th streets, they raised $4,000 in two and a half hours.
"We chose that date because it's the Fourth Friday celebration in Quarryville and the fire company was the beneficiary that night," said volunteer and former fire company president Sherry Wertz.
For the past four years, Jamie Welk has served as chief of the Quarryville Fire Company.
Recognition of that service now extends well beyond the Southern End.
On June 6, Welk was named the 2013 Chief of the Year for Lancaster County.
He becomes the first person to receive this award, inaugurated by the Lancaster County Fire Chiefs' Association. A deputy chief from the Garden Spot Fire Department received the Line Officer of the Year.
Bart Township Fire Co.,
Sept. 1: 3:28 p.m., medical assist, White Oak Rd. at Georgetown Rd., Paradise Township; three volunteers were in service 15 minutes.
Sept. 2: 2:26 p.m., medical assist, Valley Rd., Bart Township; two volunteers were in service one hour and 37 minutes.
Sept. 3: 7:52 p.m., medical assist, Noble Rd., Bart Township; two volunteers were in service 13 minutes.
Quarryville Fire Company volunteers worked with Charlie's Chicken and Ferguson & Hassler SuperMarket on Thursday and Friday to prepare and sell nearly 5,000 chicken meals. The event is one of the fire company's largest