Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue continues to serve the community
(WDBJ) - Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire and Rescue has been serving the community since 1975.
They are a group of around 30 volunteers who stand by, ready to help in case of an emergency. A common theme for the volunteers is wanting to make the Smith Mountain Lake community a better place. For Chief Todd Ohlerich, volunteering makes him feel closer to his family.
“It goes back to my grandfather was a volunteer firefighter in New York, and he was there for over 65 years and got to see him help the community that way,” said Ohlerich.
Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Ohlerich has been a volunteer 22 years now.
“We answer a wide variety of calls; we’ll answer anything from somebody getting hurt on the boat or hurt on the dock to a boat fire,” explained Ohlerich. “We also help supply water to the shoreline in case there’s a house fire; we have divers also, so we respond to search for things and so we do we do a little bit of everything.”
As people gather to celebrate at Smith Mountain Lake this holiday weekend, first responders ask boaters to be mindful.
“The biggest thing I would say is make sure you have the life jackets, the life jackets, save lives. We’ve seen it too many times,” added Ohlerich.
The biggest concern for them right now is the cost of fuel.
“We will look at each call and see what is the most imperative need, how many boats; instead of sending three boats, we may send only two at that time if that’s all that’s needed,” said Ohlerich. “And just have the other ones standby in case we need them.”
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