Community members packed the West Shore Bureau of Fire’s 37th Annual Good Friday Fish Dinner. As volunteer fire departments continue to face shortages, volunteers say community events like this one are that much more important.
“It’s a family,” said Gary Pennick, who has volunteered with the department for 23 years.
“Proceeds here benefit the Firefighter’s Association,” said Shaun Donovan of the West Shore Bureau of Fire.
Pennick has seen the highs and lows.
“Our average age for some of our daytime crew is in the 60s,” said Pennick. “Pennsylvania has the most volunteers out of any other state but the volunteerism is really dropping.”
“There’s a lot of opportunities available…anywhere from administrative support through firefighting,” said Donovan.
Pennick says the shortage of volunteer firefighters has been hard. So it makes the support from the ones they protect even more valuable.
“It’s something a lot of people in the community look forward to,” said Donovan.
The Good Friday tradition of full plates and full hearts will continue next year too.
“We love the support of the community,” said Pennick.
The department just began selling tickets for its Seafood Fest June 1.