The recent news of the closing of the Glencoe Volunteer Fire Department represents a changing in the era small town volunteer fire departments. The village of Glencoe has a long and proud history of supporting their fire department. The days when a siren would wail followed by the sounds of screeching tires of speeding vehicles, all community volunteers, rushing to the fire station where community volunteers transformed into a rapid response team meeting the emergency needs of a rural community are now gone. The Glencoe Volunteer Fire Department served our community well for over a half a century and part of this letter is thank those who sacrificed and served our community providing security as well as a center of community pride. The firefighting equipment, including several well equipped and modern fire trucks were recently given to the Smith Township Volunteer Department in Centerville, Ohio. This decision to dispense of community property was made by a few inactive fire department members without any input from the community of Glencoe. Although Smith Township deserves good equipment this is a fire station that does not provide fire coverage to the village of Glencoe. That is now, and has been for several years the responsibility of the Cumberland Trail Fire Department. In the minds of many in the Glencoe community Cumberland Trail should have at least received the offer of receiving the emergency equipment from the now defunct Glencoe Volunteer Fire Department. At least the equipment would have gone to those who are currently serving Glencoe with fire protection and emergency services. Now the same handful, of now defunct Glencoe Fire Department officials, most who no longer even reside in Glencoe, are making a decision on the community fire house. The fire station is community property, but legally owned by the fire department which is controlled by only 3-4 individuals. As a former resident of Glencoe I feel the fire station should continue to be used to serve the community of Glencoe. The Glencoe American Legion Post 632 is a veterans' organization, but just as important it is a community organization providing services to the greater Glencoe community. Post 632, including the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion provides the community children with Christmas, Halloween and other holiday events which are open to the entire community. The Memorial Day services conducted at the Warnock and Glencoe cemeteries are community based events sponsored by Post 632. The Glencoe American Legion is the only Glencoe community based organization still providing community events, fundraisers for local charities and serves s a gathering and meeting place for the entire community. There is no better organization more deserving to receive the defunct fire station, to be remodeled into a new post home then the Glencoe American Legion Post 632 and I encourage the community to support this proposal.
Richard (Chad) Balwanz