Eighteen months later and the focus is on the future, protection and training — just as things should be.

One of the strongest statements to come out of the May 6 annual meeting of Todd Volunteer Fire and Rescue is undoubtedly this one, uttered by board chairman Joseph Miller: “When we began this process in September of 2017, I would not have bet you any money that the fire department would be reopened, even now.”

Not to disregard what the “this process” is to which Miller is referring, the importance of this annual meeting is that against the odds, this volunteer force since its dissolution has been able to not only reopen, but continue to conduct its operations above board and, most importantly, begin to rebuild the trust of the community it serves.

Admittedly, a heavy burden was laid — and lays — on those volunteers who remained to put back the pieces of an organization that had to be shuttered due to financial and insurance concerns in late 2017. But to these committed individuals, the reality of not carrying that burden — an entire community left with inadequate rescue protection and skyrocketing insurance rates that can result from that — was heavier still.

And so, here we are: dozens of rescue calls to the good beginning in 2018, nearly three-quarters of the firefighters with completed annual training and a much brighter, solid and honest treasurer’s report than anything we have witnessed in years.

To the men and women who have willingly and unselfishly — the true meaning of “volunteer” — taken up the challenge to make the Todd community a safer place to live, you have both our thanks and a growing level of trust in your reliability and honor.

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