CLOVERDALE, Ore - The Cloverdale Fire District's been busy all weekend, working on the Sunnyside Turnoff fire near Warm Springs.
They've also been called to big fires out of their district, like the church fire in downtown Bend back in March. But a majority of the time they are actually helping the community with medical calls -- one volunteer at a time.
"We have to have volunteers. Our tax rate is the lowest in Central Oregon and there's no way we could possibly pay a firefighter, let alone 19 that could respond at a moment's notice to take care of an emergency," said Clinton Weaver, president of the Cloverdale Volunteer Firefighters Association.
In the past few years, the volunteers have raised nearly $10,000 for outdated equipment.
Now, the department needs new blood glucose meters to determine a patient's blood sugar level and devices to show a patient's pulse rate while an ambulance is on the way.
The new meters cost about $100 apiece and will save the crew time --potential life-saving seconds.
"You can get a lot done in that 30-40 seconds," Weaver said. "These monitors are going to help us get even more done in that time period."
That's why the Volunteer Association is this month's Pay it Forward winner and on behalf of Mid Oregon Credit Union, Co-Energy Propane and NewsChannel 21, we surprised the fire chief with $500.
"This is a huge deal for us, and it's a great benefit to our community. And without the volunteers, we would be paralyzed," said Fire Chief Thad Olsen.
Olsen and Weaver say their success depends on the volunteers who do it all for the love of the job -- paying it forward to the community.
"Virtually all of us live in this district," Weaver said. "We are helping out our neighbors and our friends. And this $500 is going to help us do that even better."
The district is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested, call 541-548-4815 or visit cloverdalefire.com