WESTFIELD - Six young men living at the Abraxas Youth and Family Services in Erie, Pa., spent more than four hours visiting with Westfield Volunteer Fire Department fire fighters and performing community service chores at the local firehouse on Sunday Sept. 16.
All six are being treated for drug and alcohol dependency in the Abraxas facility, which includes a school. Westfield volunteer fire fighter William Bills teaches science at the Abraxas school and arranged the local visit.
"They loved it," Bills said. "They were super excited to be here."
The Westfield Volunteer Fire Department hosted six young men from Abraxas Youth and Family Services in Erie, Pa., recently who are interested in emergency service as a career or as volunteer work.
The young men hail from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Johnstown, Pa., and some had never heard about volunteer fire departments, according to Bills.
Participants were picked on the basis of their interest in emergency service, both as a career and as volunteer work, Bills explained.
Each of the six also completed two hours of required community service while at the Clinton St. facility from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. They helped change light bulbs on the exterior of the building and moved what is called "mounted equipment" on the department's pumper tanker.
In addition to the work, the young men climbed fire ladders, learned about some of the capabilities of modern fire engines and used what firemen call a "charged fire hose" to clean the drive in front of the fire house.
Bills was joined as host by several other local volunteers. He believes at least two of the young men will pursue firefighting and emergency service partly as a result of what they learned and did in Westfield.
CJ's restaurant, usually closed on Sunday, agreed not only to open the kitchen, but also delivered pizza and wings for everyone at the firehouse. The bill was paid by an anonymous Good Samaritan, Bills said.