Get to know your fellow NVFC members!
HARRY EVANS - MESILLA (NM) FIRE DEPARTMENT
It's no surprise that Harry Evans, who serves as deputy fire chief for the Mesilla (NM) Fire Department, became a volunteer firefighter. After growing up watching his father volunteer, Harry promised himself that as soon as he finished serving in the military and settled down, he would volunteer in his community as well. And despite the disappointment that resulted when he discovered he wouldn't be allowed to ride the tailboard like his dad did, he stuck with it. Twenty-six years later, Harry is volunteering in a department with a colorful history.
What makes your department unique?
We service a small community that is rich in history. The Gadsden purchase was signed on the plaza. Billy the Kid was imprisoned in one of our buildings. People even say that the fire department was haunted back in the day by a firefighter who died. They said you would be sitting in the bay or in the living room area, then all of a sudden the bay doors would open or lights would flicker or turn on and off.
How has the NVFC helped you as a volunteer?
I have been able to chat with other fire service individuals and get insight on many items. I have also gotten assistance with some of the administrative tasks that everyone hates!
What is one of the biggest challenges that your department faces? How are you working to overcome it?
We struggle with maintaining volunteers and getting them to respond to calls. We are working on trying to establish a stipend program for the department to encourage more participation.
How do you balance volunteering with work and family?
Well, the first thing is that you have to have a spouse who understands what you do and why. If you have their support then volunteering is fun. When I first started I was a single father. The thing is, if you want something bad enough, you will find a way.
What advice would you give new volunteers?
Pay attention when you are being taught. Never stop learning on this job. Continue your education because the fire service is always changing.