Copyright 2013. Fort Valley Fire Department. All Rights Reserved.
Fort Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
Fort Valley 4-H Fire and Rescue
Head Leader Mrs. Bulatko - 540-933-6450
Once upon a time, kids around the age of 13 could become junior members of any fire or rescue department. All of that changed when the child labor laws came into affect changing the age to 16. Many parents and youth were upset because they had already "waited their whole lives to join".
Leslie Funkhouser, 4-H Project Associate for the Virginia Cooperative Extension office in Woodstock, Virginia came up with a suggestion for those fire and rescue departments in Shenandoah County. The suggestion was that each department create a 4-H club so that youth under the age of 16 could join and participate in trainings, parades, fund raising and various other activities. With the youth being able to participate in trainings they would learn hands on and class room teachings that would prepare them for when they turned 16 and were able to become a junior member of their chosen department. Ms. Funkhouser put much work into this project and visited those departments that were interested in this idea to present it and answer any questions.
So in May of 2006 the Fort Valley 4-H Fire and Rescue Club was born by the grace of it's head leader Wendy Bulatko. It is still an active club today with several of its members now being 16 and allowing them to join the Fort Valley Volunteer Fire Department as junior members. One of those members has taken the courses to become and be certified as Firefighter I and II. Way to go! As a certified Firefighter you are permitted to enter a burning structure, however still being under the age of 18 does not permit them from entering. Due to the child labor laws they must wait until the structure is deemed safe and then they may enter only with supervision. When these individuals turn 18 they will be released to do all the duties they were certified to do.
It has been a great organization for the community. For more information and photos of the Fort Valley 4-H Fire and Rescue Club please visit their website at: