Crews Honored

ST. MARYS — Local firefighters, police officers and transporters were invited to participate in an appreciation breakfast Tuesday morning.

St. Marys Living Center held a volunteer breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday, opening its doors to treat local volunteers to food.

“This is our volunteer and first-responders breakfast,” St. Marys Living Center Director Lorraine Fischio said. “We hold it to celebrate National Volunteer Week and to pay respects to our first-response team in the area.”

She noted the center has put on the breakfast but not in recent years.

“We’ve done it a couple times in the past,” she said.

Fischio noted the center also opened the breakfast up to its own helpers.

“We’re also providing breakfast for our own staff,” she said, noting they have approximately 20 volunteers at the center.

She noted they invited local first-responders, firefighters, the sheriff’s office and local police officers among others.

“Also we invited our ambulance drivers, our local transportation agency and the Auglaize County Council on Aging directors,” she said.

In addition to the breakfast, she added, there was also an open house for the visitors.

“They’ll have breakfast and then we’ll give them a tour,” Fischio said.

St. Marys Living Center also invited Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson to the breakfast. Anderson arrived in the EMA’s mobile home, which serves as a mobile command center in the event of a disaster.

“We try to get our vehicle out and about for public events,” Anderson said. “Not only do we use this in our county, but it also covers six other counties. It could go across the state of Ohio if need be.”

He noted the mobile home has been used at festivals around the area.

“We’ve used it during festivals, also during the fair,” he said. “We also use it during special events like SummerFest and other festivals in the area. We’ve used it at Bluesfest. It can be brought in to help. All people have to do is call and request it.”

Anderson noted the features of the mobile home — which people could stop and see.

“The motor home has a colored camera, a thermal camera, night vision, a mobile light tower unit that can go up in the air,” he said, adding the unit also features access to the new radio frequency around the county. “We also, for Auglaize County, can use it for dispatching.”

The home, he noted, can be used in any emergency situation.

“Basically it’s our command center on wheels,” Anderson said.

“We have AM radios that are compatible with all bands, so maybe not just our first-responders need it, but the Red Cross, the Salvation Army. They can get into it and program and use it.”

He gave the example of the area being “highly devastated.”

“Family members could ask for a welfare check,” Anderson said, noting there are two generators on board, so the unit can also supply power out of itself if the need be and it would not affect how the unit runs. “As long as we have fuel, we can keep it up and running.”