The recruitment drive has begun. Banners and signs are hanging throughout Manlius. Table campaigns are being held at local venues. An open house at Fire Station 1 is set to take place on Memorial Day.
The word is out: The Manlius Fire Department needs volunteers.
"Everybody can do something," said volunteer firefighter Adam Feck, who listed a number of jobs with which people could help. "There are spots everywhere that are needed to be filled."
Feck, who came on board last year, is a member of the Recruitment Committee with three other volunteers. Having been a traveling businessman in the past, Feck never had time to commit to any department -- until now. Being an interior firefighter is something he's always wanted to be, he said.
"I moved here with my wife and now three girls so I could be home every night," Feck said. "And now that I am, I can run out every night!"
Feck and fellow firefighter Rich Gesler, also on the committee, laughed. But in a more sincere tone, Feck explained that he also wanted to meet others in the community, "to get some of the social atmosphere out of it as well," he said.
Gesler agreed, adding that he, too, is fairly new to the area, and enjoys the camaraderie that comes with the job.
Sounds fun enough -- why a need for a drive?
Because most people fear they don't have enough time to commit, Gesler said, therefore numbers are down. There are currently 61 active volunteers at the Manlius FD. Ideally, they would like to see another 15 to 20 begin -- and stay.
"If you brought two dozen or 20 in and you can retain 10 or 12 of them, that would be phenomenal," Feck said, acknowledging the greatest challenge lies in keeping new members.