volunteers

Mary Jo Batters was, as she puts it, “cloistered” for six years, caring for her mother who had dementia. She learned some important life lessons in those years, such as the way the core of a person remains. Her mother, who was a nurse, cared about people up until the very end.

Westmere Fire Department is in good shape, in terms of recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters, according to President Barry Nelson. 

Just 33 years old, Kyle Haines will be the next chief of the Altamont Fire Department on Jan. 1. 

"A lot of things are in the air,” said Westerlo’s acting supervisor of ambulance coverage.

Fifteen members serve on the Westerlo Rescue Squad, a mere 0.4 percent of the town’s population of about 3,400. The average age of the members is 60. Both factors have led to the decision for the volunteer ambulance to close at the end of the year.

ALBANY COUNTY — Although millions of dollars are spent every year by taxpayers through their fire districts in the western half of Albany County, just hundreds of the tens-of-thousands of the eligible voters turned out for the commissioner elections on Tuesday.

As Western Turnpike Rescue Squad closes its doors, its operations taken over by the town of Guilderland, the Altamont Rescue Squad looks to the future.

The fire company is hoping that $11,000 set aside for building costs can be used to to cover costs for a newly required insurance program.

With each passing year, fewer and fewer all-volunteer ambulance squads remain in the area, replaced with full-time paid employees.

A statewide insurance program for certain firefighters afflicted with cancer has been touted for helping at-risk volunteers, but there is concern in small fire departments that the costs outweigh the benefits.

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