ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After a theft at a Capital Region all-volunteer firehouse, the members who protect their community were pretty angry and disappointed. But then they decided to turn the situation into an opportunity.
“They had some time on their hands. And they chose to cause some mischief out there.”
Commissioner Kevin Thomas spoke with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker about what happened last Friday just before midnight at Rotterdam Fire District #2. He said the theft was captured by security cameras outside the firehouse.
Thomas says it showed a couple of kids stealing plastic caps off of two concrete barriers outside.
Sgt. Jordan Nowak felt the theft could be turned into an opportunity of sorts.
“It’s not really the fact that they stole a couple of cones. It’s the fact that they stole it from a service that helps the community,” said Nowak.
He wanted to offer the kids something a bit better to do with their spare time, so Nowak posted a message on the fire department’s Facebook page. It included a screenshot of the boys and an offer: That when they came forward to return the covers, they were invited to fill out an application for the all-volunteer department’s Junior Firefighters Program.
Anya: “You joined when you were 17 as a Junior firefighter. What did you get out of it that maybe they could be getting out of it?”
Jordan: “I mean, we are always helping our neighbors. We’re making a difference in someone’s life when they’re having the worst day of their life.”
Commissioner Thomas says volunteer fire departments are hurting when it comes to young recruits, adding that he would not discourage anyone from applying.
Thomas says they have filed a complaint with Rotterdam Police, who tell NEWS10 that it remains an open case. In the meantime, Thomas and Nowak say they hope the boys just do the right thing.
If you’ve been searching for a way to help your community, your local volunteer fire department could be a perfect fit. Applicants to Rotterdam’s Junior Firefighter Program must be at least 16 years of age.