You Asked For It: The Sacrifice of Volunteer Firefighters

Over the past few months, we've been listening to you -- taking your story suggestions, regardless of the topic. We call the program "You Asked For It."

A viewer in Tyler prefers to remain anonymous, but writes about the many volunteer firefighters in Smith County and across East Texas. And, they want us to make the public aware of what they do.

Here's the story, because You Asked For It.

"I started doing it as just a way to help out the community, and if it was my house on fire, I'd wish there was somebody out there to take care of it."

Even when he can't. Tommy Brock is the chief of the Winona Volunteer Fire Department, but also full-time manager at Tire Time Rentals.

"The hours I put in? (he laughs)."

Like most volunteers, the only money he gets is from his full-time job. He fights fire on his own time.

"Being chief, there are meetings that I attend all the time, in the middle of the night.  There are nights I get up at 10:30 or 11:00 at night and I don't sleep until the following night," he says.

Andy Parker is a Lindale volunteer:  "My friends in high school were volunteer firemen."

That's how he and many volunteers start out. From a young age, in a small town, everyone's a friend.

"I've been volunteering in Lindale for ten years, and I knew that's what I wanted to do for a living," Andy says.

He says he'll spend his life helping others. He's in Lindale part time, and a Longview fireman full time.

"It gets in your blood I guess you could say and you can't get away from it," he says.

Tommy Brock says, "There's always a concern. There's always that chance that something could happen to you while you're doing it."

Their families understand and accept their risk.

With every day every call, their pride is unmistakable.

"This is what I do, and I love it. It's the greatest job in the world," Tommy says.

It's a devotion to keep their communities, their friends, and their homes safe... every hour, every day.