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Going beyond the call of duty

May 3, 2011
By KIM LOCCISANO - Times Leader Staff Writer ( , Times Leader

ook up the definition of a neighbor, and according to one Piedmont resident you should immediately find the names Cindy and Rick Bear listed as first class examples of what it means to be the kind of folks you want as a neighbor. This husband and wife duo make the quality of daily life around them better for all.

If your home is in the Piedmont Lake area you are very fortunate when it comes to the quality of persons you can anticipate having as neighbors; particularly when it comes to one outstanding family and the immeasurable positive impact of their commitment to each other. The Bears are always doing all they can to make sure the people and places they hold dear are kept safe from harm.

Long-time Piedmont area resident Evelyn Taylor, believes the Bear family - starting with Rick and Cindy - the couple at the head of this extraordinary family, have and continue to make a positive difference in the lives of many who call this somewhat remote area home.

Article Photos

Photos Provided
MOOREFIELD TOWNSHIP Volunteer Fire Department Firechief Rick Bear and his wife Cindy are the driving force behind the success of the department which provides service to residents of the Piedmont Lake area of Belmont and Harrison counties. The two are shown as they prepare their turnout gear for the next emergency.

Taylor recently nominated Cindy and Rick Bear of Piedmont for the monthly spotlight, "Hey, that's My Neighbor."

She saw it as a means of sharing a public thank you with the family from those they have shared so much with over many years of service with local volunteer fire departments and the emergency squads and the many fund raising efforts they lead on behalf of those vital services.

Typical of the projects centered at the firehouse which Cindy usually leads are hearty meals for hunters available throughout the days of deer gun season.

Proceeds of several of these large meal sales which are open to the public go to pay for insurance on department equipment, shared Cindy.

Fund raisers of this type take a great deal of work to organize and pull off successfully - particularly in a time when families are often hard pressed to find funds to cover essentials, such as catastrophic healthcare costs.

When members of the community learned Rick had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and a tumor had been found, they decided it was time for Rick and Cindy to be on the receiving end of the blessings known to come from holding a meal-based fund raising event on behalf of a neighbor in need.

Chemotherapy sessions were a new and painful addition to the family's normally busy - but happy - schedule.

Being the focus of a fund raiser put the family in a position they never expected to occupy.

It was a life affirming experience for them both, if for no other reason than to see - gathered in one spot - many of the people they had previously helped through emergency situations both large and small over their years of service as emergency responders to the surrounding communities, their friends and neighbors.

The couple was overwhelmed to see so many people flood into their tiny community and shower them with love and support.

Rick and Cindy may or may not know each and every person in their community by name, but it is very likely that anyone who has been helped by local firefighters, EMTs, a squad responding to an accident or emergency whether large or small has come into contact with someone from this family - and very likely have been the better for it.

The Bears are a team: as husband and wife, as parents, as grandparents and as volunteers responding to calls for help from the local volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel.

They work together for the good of all: family, friends, and community - or even on behalf of friends they just haven't yet met - but who get connected to them in emergency situations.

Rick is well known to those who have dealings with the Harrison County Board of Elections, as he is currently director of that office. Cindy's abilities to respond successfully to emergency situations was only reinforced during the years she was employed as a dispatcher in the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.

Rick grew up Freeport, and Cindy's home has always been Piedmont helping out the local volunteer fire department, and what was at one time its formerly organized auxiliary.

It is a legacy they have shared with their four sons, and are delighted to be able to share with their three grandsons as well.

In 1974 Rick joined the Freeport Volunteer Fire Department, following a family tradition. His skills included serving as a firefighter and as an EMT.

When he and Cindy married in 1978 the couple made their home in Piedmont.

It was also at this point that he transferred his membership to the Moorefield Township Volunteer Fire Department, eventually becoming fire chief.

It wasn't long before Cindy decided it was time for her to get some firsthand training that would allow her to be a greater help to Rick in an emergency, and to be better able to handle emergency situations any young mother might have to face.

One of Cindy's most ardent supporters in this choice was her late mother, Kate Gustina, who passed away in 1996.

When the emergency tones were dropped, the couple would routinely head out the door from home, regardless the time or the weather conditions. Within minutes their family-based back up could be counted on to arrive at their door, immediately ready to take over parenting duties until after their emergency or fire call work was done. Kate was the key to Cindy being able to respond to these emergencies standing next to her husband.

"When you have a husband and wife working together on a department, they are responding to an accident scene; your mind is racing on the way to the firehouse. You know you will have at least one other person to count on," said Rick. "You complement each other. You know how the other thinks and works." He is obviously pleased to be able to have his wife's skills on hand in an emergency situation.

"Let me tell you about these two wonderful people. They belong to the Moorefield Volunteer Fire Department as EMTs, making them receive calls 24-7. Rick is the fire chief. He also has a job full time. Any project the fire department works on they are the hardest workers. The summer street festival, the deer hunter meals: Cindy is the one in charge getting the food and workers to help, plus cleaning the building," Taylor's nomination letter shared.

And, she is right in writing those words about these two outstanding community leaders.

In fact, Cindy is currently working to prepare for the fast approaching Mother's Day Chicken Barbecue hosted each year as another fund-raising project for the department which goes to show that even though she is a mother and most likely deserves to be pampered, she puts others first at all times.

"They are two very valuable people," said Taylor. "Our community is so lucky to have them."

Loccisano may be reached at



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