WHEN IN NEED, THEY'LL BE THERE

June 12, 2007 11:00 pm

ENTERPRISE — Thursday morning I was awakened by the 9-1-1 page. Our fire department was called to a structure fire with people in three apartments located in the building adjacent to our fire department and City Hall.

I have worked for the City of Enterprise for 20 years and I am always so amazed by the response of our fire department when called. You barely take a breath and they are at the fire hall ready to respond when in need.

We witnessed absolute teamwork Thursday morning. The Enterprise Volunteer Fire Department didn't wait a minute to request mutual aide from the other fire departments in our county and they responded rapidly. These men worked for many hours and were given some relief by manpower from La Grande and Imbler, which was so very much appreciated.

Our Wallowa County EMTs stayed all day to make sure medical assistance was available if needed.

We had the potential of losing a whole city block, which included many businesses, and homes to some people. These men and women fought that blaze and saved all of the buildings surrounding the DeSpains' building. I still sit thinking about that and am so grateful and proud that we have them.

What we have to remember is that these people wait for that call every day to protect us from fire. They train very hard and set their personal lives aside when in need. They do not receive a lot of compensation for this. They do it because they care. They are called away from their homes and their jobs frequently and you may not even know it. They are always there. Send a thank you to your local fire department and support them. I also urge you to thank the businesses that employ these firefighters, allowing them to leave their place of employment in a moment's need. These men and women are always ready to protect your home and business when called.

On Thursday, we lost a historical building owned by Rob & Eric DeSpain. This building had four apartments, of which three were occupied. The people in these apartments lost all of their personal belongings. The Double G Saddle Co. owned by Ross Gruenwald lost everything and the Together Project will be relocated. We are very saddened by the losses all of these people received, but are so very thankful no lives were lost.

Thank you to the firefighters of Wallowa County and Union County. Also, a huge thank you to the Wallowa County EMTs for being there for them.

As our fire chief was quoted, our family is Eastern Oregon.

Michele Young is the city administrator for the City of Enterprise.