Volunteer Spotlight: Keith Adkins
Name: Keith Adkins
Department Name: Monrovia Volunteer Fire-Rescue
Location: Madison, AL
What is your occupation?
During my day job I work for an engineering firm in the aviation business.
How long have you been an NVFC member?
I’ve been a member since 2016
Why are you an NVFC member?
NVFC is a membership organization that represents the needs and voice of the fire service’s volunteer corp – both our department as well as volunteer departments nationally – and that’s significant to have a unified presence for departments like ours.
Why are you a volunteer firefighter, EMT, or rescue provider?
In short, because I’m capable to be. There is a famous and humorous quote about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. It roughly goes something like, “There was an important task to be done that Everybody assumed Somebody should do. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did.” I wish I could give credit to the author, but it’s so widely used I’m not sure who to pay homage to. Throughout social and work experiences, I have encountered someone that has asserted that, “someone needs to do something.” We all have the opportunity to come up with a reason for why we are unable to be that someone; I didn’t have the heart to make an excuse though. People are called to action for a variety of reasons and while being able might not have been the complete reason for why I came to the fire services, it is why I stay.
What year did you join the fire or emergency services?
What are your memorable moments as a firefighter or EMS provider?
There a lot of experiences and exposures that all first responders see. Some are good, some negative, and others that make you feel like you are making a difference in a way that you won’t find in other walks of life.
A few years ago we ran a mutual aid structure fire on a well involved residence. Given the circumstances for how the fire started we weren’t able to make a good stop on the fire. There were some picture frames on the wall and other small keepsakes that we brought out as overhaul was beginning. Sometime later I saw that homeowner, a man, walking around and shaking hands with the crew that had worked his house. That same male homeowner walked up to me and while crying gave me possibly the biggest bear hug I had ever had, thanking us for helping him and his family. There’s the potential to see a lot of downside working this job, but it’s moments like that where I know that it’s all worth it, and that we are truly making a difference.
What contributions have you (and your department) made in your community?
A lot of the contributions that the department has made has been focused on fire-based awareness initiatives and education. For example, each year members of our department visit local schools for National Fire Awareness Week. We also give station tours for a variety of youth and civic groups, we share our department’s classroom space with local entities, we visit other groups to deliver fire- and EMS-based education workshops (what to do when with respect to calling 911, encountering emergency vehicles on the roadway, CPR, choking, and adult based fire education such as pre-fire planning, smoke detectors, and using a fire extinguisher).
We also give a lot back to other departments via formal classroom-based instruction and hands-on training to ensure next generation firefighters have the education to back up their service commitments. We do this through teaching state recognized fire certifications that includes State of Alabama Certified Firefighter I, Firefighter II, and Fire Instructor. Similarly, we do the same type of instruction for EMS continuing education credits, CPR certification, and other instructional topics.
Interested in serving your community? Find volunteer fire service opportunities at www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org.