By Danielle Herman
Forty-four years. That’s how long one local firefighter has been volunteering his time to support his community.
Danielsville fire chief Marc Perry has been with the Madison county station since its beginning, and has helped bring his service to qualify as one of the finest in the nation.
The Danielsville volunteer rescue fire department first met in the city’s courthouse in 1971. Perry has seen many changes since those first early days.
“Times change in forty years, you know,” Perry said. “We used to talk about the old people in town. Now we are the old people.”
In a city with a population just under 600 people, Perry knows the people he serves pretty well.
“Everybody knows you, and I’ve been here for a long, long time,” Perry said.
However, the small town community has more to be proud of than its growing population. The Danielsville fire station is listed as a Class 4, meaning lower home insurance rates. The lower the class, the more qualified a station is deemed to be able to extinguish costly home fires.
Money saved on lower home insurance rates adds to the overall amount saved due to volunteer fire departments per year. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, an estimated $139.8 billion dollars is saved due to volunteered rescue time.
Less than ten percent of the nation’s volunteer fire departments are Class 4 or better. Perry said he is certainly proud of his team’s work.
“It’s a pride thing, you know,” Perry said. “If you’re gonna be a volunteer fireman, you want to be one of the best.”
As the station operates on a volunteer basis, Perry and the other firemen are not paid and most work full time jobs elsewhere. Perry runs a plumbing and electric company himself.
“It’s sort of my hobby,” Perry said. “I don’t fish and hunt, so it’s a hobby.”
A hobby, but an important one at that.
“When we respond, it’s always in a time of someone else’s bad time,” Perry said. “They’re very appreciative of your efforts and being able to serve your neighbors.”
Perry admits that the work he’s done over the last four decades has been tough, but there’s one reason behind his strong motivation to serve.
“I think everybody should have some community involvement,” Perry said. “Give something back to the community, and it will reward you.”