It was the recruiter who found us. With great effort and belief that what they had to offer was better than anything in the world and they were able to articulate it with such belief and conviction, that we raised our right hand and gave of ourselves to service. The recruiter was able to take what the Marine Corps had to offer and transform that into what we were looking to get out of life; and if you want to increase your volunteer ranks you also need to be able to do the same.
It is apparent that what we have been doing in the past is not working. Society has changed, and along with that is how people perceive the world around them and what they value. It is not that they don't value public service, they just do not see the connection between what they are looking for in today's world and what serving in the fire service can provide. We cannot sit in our stations and shake our heads at what we perceive as apathy. Just because we can see and we know the value of the fire service doesn't mean it is plainly seen and recognized by our neighbors. There once was a time when it was, but in today's society that is simply not the case. It is not that it doesn't exist; it's just not realized. That is where recruiting comes in, to turn the perceived values of today's society into what your fire department can provide for them.
Some of the bravest firefighters you may ever know are one of those faces passing by your station doors right now; the only problem is that they don't know they want to become a firefighter yet, or see how their needs and values can be satisfied by serving in their neighborhood volunteer fire department. They aren't aware of what opportunities are available to them or that they have what it takes, albeit time or skill, to join your ranks. Don't let those opportunities continue to pass you by! Develop a recruiting plan in your department and get aggressive.
The Marines are looking for a few good men and woman, and so are you. The Marines are finding them right there outside your door -- and you can to! With a solid recruiting plan you can also fill your ranks with men and woman of the character you need to battle the enemy at home, just like our other heroes are doing for us overseas.
In the next article, Daniel Byrne will suggest some ideas for a recruitment program.
DANIEL BYRNE, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a firefighter/paramedic, with the Burton Fire District in Burton, SC. A 20-year veteran of the emergency services, he holds both an associate and bachelors degree in fire science, is a National Fire Academy Alumni, and a veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm war with the U.S. Marine Corps. Daniel is the recipient of local and state awards for public educations and relations. You can reach Daniel by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.