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22nd Annual Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run Goes Virtual (View Photos Here)

July 7, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

For the safety of racers and volunteers, the 22nd Annual Fiddler 5K and One-Mile Fun Run went Virtual July 1 – 4.  The event was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County and all proceeds from the race will be used in building another Habitat for Humanity home in DeKalb County.

The Fiddler 5K is also a qualifying race for the Run the Cumberland Medal Series of Races.

(Click the link below to view photos provided by Bill Luton’s Web ~ Photography ~ Design)
(These images shown here are from 7am-8am Saturday, July 4 for the 2020 Fiddler 5K. Roughly, 9 separate groups of runners, 32 participants all together. The image with the golf course in the background is from Graniteville, SC. This woman and her daughter participated as well in the Virtual Fiddler 5k)

https://www.wjle.com/5k-2020-photos/

Instead of having to get up early on Saturday morning, July 4 to run this race participants were permitted to register for either the 5K or the One Mile Fun Run online and race anytime they wanted from July 1-4. Many runners and competitors recorded their time and distance by downloading and making use of the ItsYourRace.com app or by timing it manually with a stop watch.

Several runners chose to run the old fashion way for their Virtual Run following a course marked with basic instructions during the Virtual Run Time.

All registered participants will receive a commemorative cotton/poly t-shirt which have been ordered. Participants will get either a Unisex T-shirt or a Ladies Racerback Tank. For local folks, you will have the option to pickup shirts in Smithville sometime the week of July 13th (details forthcoming), or you may choose to have your shirt mailed that week (for an additional cost).

No awards were given this year. Only bragging rights and a chance for runners to support a great cause.




Smithville Woman Killed in California Crash

July 6, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Tori Ann Haywood, 42, of Smithville, has been identified as one of the two people who were killed in a multi-vehicle accident that left five others injured on Thursday evening, July 2 at Palmdale, California.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a 2014 Hyundai, driven by a 20-year-old Palmdale man, was traveling eastbound on Palmdale Boulevard when, for unknown reasons, it swerved into the westbound lane where it collided head-on with a 2020 Toyota.

Another 2021 Hyundai that was traveling westbound on Palmdale Boulevard behind the Toyota was also involved in the mishap, the police said.

Haywood, who was the Toyota driver, and the 2014 Hyundai driver, were both pronounced dead at the scene.

M.N. Ankenbrandt, 20, of Lancaster, California sustained major injuries and was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment. She was a passenger in the 2014 Hyundai.

A passenger in the Toyota, Tyjhai Ladet, 18, of Smithville, sustained major injuries in the crash. Ladet was taken to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment.

Three other passengers in the Toyota, 18-year-old Sierra Ladet, 18-year-old Tyzjon Ladet, and 18-year-old Tre Lamar Ladet all from Smithville, suffered moderate injuries and were also taken to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment.

Tia Perkins, 21, of McMinnville, TN who was the driver of the 2021 Hyundai, was not injured in the collision.




DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Wants You!

May 28, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

What if you had a fire at your home and nobody came to put it out?

You may not realize it but your county fire department, like many others in cities and counties across the state, is made up entirely of volunteers. These are people who care about their community and have a desire to help their neighbors. But over the years fewer people have stepped up to serve. To keep the department adequately staffed for years to come, DeKalb County needs you!

During the month of July, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department is conducting a recruitment drive and awareness campaign in search of new members. Already 18 new recruits have signed up within the last two months but more volunteers are needed. While the month of July is the focus of the effort, recruitment actually goes on year round and new volunteers may join at any time.

County Fire Chief Donny Green and Recruitment Chairman Matt Adcock say the department needs to increase its membership in order to better serve the county. Currently the department operates 12 fire stations across the county staffed by a total of 61 members.

“We are a county wide volunteer fire department. We have a chief, assistant chief, three captains, three lieutenants, a commander over each individual station, and the 61 volunteers who are assigned to each station but we are experiencing a severe shortage of volunteer firefighters in DeKalb County. This is not just an issue here but all over the state and country,” said Chief Green. “In 1986 when I started as a volunteer DeKalb County had more farmers and a lot of them were on the fire department. In many cases these farmers would be out on a tractor or in a tobacco field and when a fire call came in they would stop working and come to the fire. We also had a large industry here at that time who was really good about letting employees on duty, who were also volunteer firefighters, leave work to answer fire calls. We have lost much of that now. Today many people are so busy with their jobs or other commitments they don’t have time to volunteer which is making recruiting more challenging for us as a fire department,” he said.

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department not only responds to fire calls at homes and businesses but to car wrecks and rescue extrication, hazmat emergencies, storm recovery, setting up landing zones for air medical services, among other emergency calls.

No membership fees are required to join. Just a commitment of time for volunteering and training. Incentive awards are available to volunteers who go above and beyond as well as other benefits.

“The days of handing someone a hat and fire coat and making them a firefighter are long gone. We feel an obligation to have every one of our new recruits trained because what we do every day is very risky. We deal with life and death situations so we take the training very seriously,” said Chief Green.

“We provide all the training. We can take someone who has zero fire fighting experience and train them free of charge. We pay for the training and equipment but we do expect them to commit their time. We start with a 16 hour in-house orientation and then a 64 hour rookie school. Two of our trainings are in emergency vehicle operation,” said Adcock.

“The orientation introduces new recruits to emergency services, our department and standard operating guidelines. The 64 hour basic recruit school covers the fundamentals of firefighting. After that another phase of training is offered for recruits who want to do what we call interior fire attacks, using breathing apparatus, to go inside a burning structure. This is a weekend training and its done at the state fire academy in Bell Buckle,” said Chief Green.

Specialized training is also available to firefighters in vehicle rescue, hazardous materials, medical first responder, and wildland firefighting services.

Along with the sense of fulfillment for helping others, being a volunteer firefighter is rewarding in other ways.

“We offer recruitment and retention points for those who attend the trainings, meetings, firecalls, etc, and we reimburse them for that each month. Because we are considered county employees as far as insurance even though we are volunteers, the county provides workers compensation benefits as well as insurance for injury and death. Volunteer firefighters also qualify for an emergency license plate through the county clerk’s office. Once you meet the requirements for the tag you can submit that information to the county mayor’s office each year for a license plate fee reimbursement. The county also offers a half price gym membership at the county complex. These are a few of the benefits offered but the greatest is being able to serve your community,” said Chief Green.

County volunteer firefighters gather for an annual membership banquet in January for awards and special recognition. Also during the year, the department hosts other events for its members and their families including Halloween and Christmas parties, and 4th of July fireworks shows.

If you would like to join the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department call Chief Donny Green at 615-464-7176 or any county volunteer firefighter for more information or to obtain a membership application. You may also access the application at www.dekalbfire.com.

If you know of others who might like to join, Adcock asks you to help spread the word.

“Word of mouth is probably the best way we get our message out. Talking to someone face to face gives them an opportunity to ask questions and get answers firsthand,” he said

“Social media is also a useful method, especially in reaching younger people through facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat and we plan to do more of that”.

“Signage and a banner posted at our fire stations gives us more visibility in the community too. These displays are effective in drawing the attention of people as they drive by. The banner sends a strong message of how we need volunteers,” Adcock continued.

“Of course local media sources help us spread the word. Radio and newspaper have always helped us share news from the department,” added Adcock.

Even if you are not able to volunteer as a firefighter but want to learn more or help in other ways, Chief Green said there is a place for you.

“A lot of times we get people that want to help but who can’t go into a burning house. We have a job for most anybody 18 years of age or older. We have people in our department right now who are in their 70s who are doing things to help us. We need people to drive our trucks, and run the pumps. We even have a Rehab team made up of people who provide support. If we are on a major incident for a long time, the Rehab team does things like provide drinking water, and resources to cool or warm our volunteers depending upon the weather. We have a job for anyone who wants to help. Of course our annual Citizens Fire Academy is a great educational program too in which participants can get some hands-on experience in what it is like to be a firefighter, said Chief Green.




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