John Willoughby: Greene Publishing, Inc.
The council members for the Town of Lee gathered together for their monthly, regular scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m., at Lee's Town Hall. In attendance were Mayor Eddie Bell and council members: Edwin McMullen, Ronnie Bass, Dianne Beck, Shirley vonRoden, and Erika Robinson. Also in attendance were Town Manager John Anderson, Deputy Clerk Courtney Bailey and County Commissioner Rick Davis.
The evening began with a proclamation from the Town of Lee, designating the month of April as Water Conservation Month. This proclamation coincides with the Suwannee River Water Management District, other water management districts, and the State of Florida, working together to increase awareness about the importance of water conservation.
As the month of April is typically a dry month when water demands are most acute, Florida's Water Conservation Month is to educate citizens about how they can help save water resources. As stated in the proclamation, “every business, industry, school and citizen can make a difference when it comes to conserving water, promoting a healthy economy and community.” The proclamation was adopted unanimously, 5-0.
Leroy Rutherford, acting fire chief of the Lee Community Volunteer Fire Department (LCVFD) approached the podium, asking for the town council's assistance and involvement on behalf of the LCVFD. As stated in LCVFD's articles of incorporation, there should be three council members on the board of the LCVFD. At the time, Ronnie Bass was the only council member on the board of the department.
“Have you ever sat there in your yard and watched your neighbor's house burn? Have you ever been traveling on the interstate and seen an accident and there was nobody to pull the child out of the car?” said Rutherford. “We as citizens of this community have a responsibility. If someone is in medical need, are you trained to take care of your neighbor? Where do we stand as stewards of our community [to] our friends, our neighbors?”
Rutherford explained that Chris Williams, Fire Coordinator for Madison County, was talking about coming to the Town of Lee to teach first aid classes. “If you guys don't support us and get our community over here, we're not going to have anybody to take care of it like we use to,” said Rutherford.
Council woman Shirley vonRoden stepped up to serve on the board as the second board member of the LCVFD. Regularly, the LCVFD holds meetings on the second Tuesday of the month, but right now, the department is meeting every Tuesday night.
Rutherford continued to explain that Chipola Fire College, in Marianna is offering an eight-day class, whereby anyone age 18 or older can become Firefighter I certified. “Talk about a freebie,” said Rutherford. “They provide the meals [and] the housing. All we have to do is pay for the transportation to get them out there and they will reimburse us for the transportation.” The LCFVD is not gender-specific and will not just take men, but women as well.
Firefighting is not the only option for serving at the LCVFD. Other services needed are support staff, bookkeeping and inventory officer. “You don't have to be in the hot zone. There's something for everybody,” said Rutherford. “Even if you're physically handicapped, you can still perform certain duties in there.”
Anyone wanting to know more about LCVFD and is interested in volunteering, is encouraged to attend a meeting every Tuesday. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at the LCVFD, located next to Town Hall at 317 NE County Road 255, in Lee. The next regular scheduled town council meeting is to be held on Tuesday, April 3, beginning at 7 p.m.