By: David M. Higgins II
Being part of a community is a little more for Atlantic Broadband Vice President/General Manager Scott Randall and Business Serviceability Coordinator Willie Knight. Both serve as Volunteer Firefighters and EMT’s.
Scott Randall has spent nearly 20 years as a firefighter in York, Pa and then in various communities in Maryland. Willie Knight works with the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad as an Emergency Medical Technician(EMT). Both men, along with many others in the community go beyond the 40-hour workweek.
“I began working for Atlantic Broadband a little more than four years ago. I began in our Western Pennsylvania region, then later relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland region, and now I have been in Southern Maryland for almost two years, ” says Randall.
Knight began working there around the same time, “I started working for MetroCast in February of 2016. I became an Atlantic Broadband employee in 2018 when MetroCast was acquired.”
Handling full-time careers and lives could make it hard for some people, but Knight says, “Carving out time for my work at Atlantic Broadband and serving as an EMT isn’t too tricky given that I am able to dedicate different hours to both. I work Monday through Friday with Atlantic Broadband and I schedule my volunteer shifts upon availability during weekends. I often start my volunteer shifts on Friday nights through Sunday nights to make up my 30-hour-per month requirement.”
I began my volunteer work at the local fire station about 13 years ago now, just a few years after my wife and I built a home in Springettsbury, PA, which was just a few blocks from the fire station. Every day for about two years I drove by the station and saw the sign out front asking for volunteers”; says Randall,” So, one day I stopped in, filled out the application, and soon became a member of the York Area United Volunteer Fire and Rescue. I served for several years as a Fire Police officer. Today, my days of responding to emergencies are largely behind me. However, I find satisfaction helping around the station and doing what I can to assist the men and women who make up our first responders like fundraising, events, recruitment, and training.”
Randall continued,” When it comes to balancing work and volunteering, anyone who works in the telecommunications industry can honestly tell you that 50-60-hour work weeks are often the norm. However, all fire departments are open for business 24/7 365 days a year. I can usually find an evening or two during the week, or a day during the weekend where I can go help out and contribute to the fire department. I enjoy this time because it allows my brain to focus on something completely different from my work—giving it a mini-vacation from work-related thoughts. I really don’t think of my volunteer time as work time, either. There is quite a bit of comradery at the station and for me and for most of the members of any volunteer department, the members represent my extended family.”
While Randall days of responding to emergencies are behind him, Knight maintains a presence with the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad,”Our team responds to approximately 9,000 calls per year, and the most rewarding part of volunteering for me is the feeling of just helping someone else and seeing the thankful looks in their faces.”
Both men have served in their community in their business careers and as volunteers. We knew there had to be a reason for them to continue, “The most rewarding part of being a member of a volunteer fire department is the satisfaction of doing your best with others also doing their best. Knowing that everyone who is working is unpaid means that they’re there because they want to be. The most challenging element of volunteer work (and I am sure I speak for every volunteer emergency responder out there) is fundraising”, says Randall,” The vast majority of a volunteer department’s budget comes from donations and other fundraising activities. A new fire engine easily costs $500,000. The safety gear that a firefighter must wear costs $12,000 and up. The cost to be in the emergency services business is stunningly high and there is never enough money to fund all a company’s needs. So, everyone works to generate donations and help “keep the lights on.”
For Knight, ” I would say the most challenging part of my work as an EMT is working with EMS protocols. For instance, my squad once received a call, but we were unable to respond because we didn’t have a primary provider, we only had two drivers. There was also a paramedic dispatch on this call, who could have assisted as our primary until the patient could have been transported to the hospital. There are protocols that prevented this from happening. This kind of delay, while created to protect patients and volunteers, can be the difference between life and death. “
Volunteering in your community is an amazing way to give back. The biggest thing you need is the willingness or desire to be part of something. as for volunteering at the Fire House or Rescue Squad, “Some of the activities that anyone can do include keeping the station clean, providing maintenance on the apparatus, lending a hand fundraising, performing Fire Prevention education, teaching CPR, or assisting with the many other tasks that are important to keep a fire or EMT station operating. I once delivered a dozen pizzas to about 50 firefighters who were battling a brush fire”, says Randall.”The weather was very hot, and the firefighters had been battling the blaze all afternoon. Needless to say, no piece of pizza went uneaten! For those wishing to be first responders, it takes good physical health and available time to take formal training. Most can expect at least a couple of weeks of formal training before they are allowed at an emergency scene.”