The Buckhannon Fire Department on Monday unveiled its latest effort to attract more volunteer firefighters to its ranks with this life-sized decal designed and installed by Casey Earl Mills. / All photos by Katie Kuba

Fire department appeals to volunteers to ‘Come join our team’ with garage-sized decal

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Fire Department is pulling out all the stops to attract more volunteer firefighters to its ranks.

In fact, the department is hoping its latest recruitment campaign inspires passersby to stop – and consider joining their local fire service as a volunteer.

The photo in the garage-door-sized decal features, from left, Brian Potter, Hunter Wilfong, Maggie Petitto, BFD career firefighter Maria Potter, Steve Michaels and Travis Dean. With the exception of Maria Potter, all currently serve as volunteer firefighters.

Buckhannon fire chief JB Kimble said the eye-catching, multi-panel decal installed on one of the fire department’s garage doors Monday was designed by Casey Earl Mills using a photo captured by local artist and photographer Shanda Hoover. The image reads, “Come join our team” and features an image of five Buckhannon volunteer firefighters (Brian Potter, Hunter Wilfong, Maggie Petitto, Steve Michaels and Travis Dean) and one full-time career firefighter (Maria Potter).

“This was a joint effort here at the firehouse when we were coming up with ways to create advertisements for volunteers,” Kimble said. “This firehouse is a great big billboard itself. People drive by here every day, so we wanted to make it look like, even with the door down, that somebody was here. So the crew’s here even if the door’s down. If the door’s up, the truck’s here and visible.”

“It creates that welcoming environment,” he added. “We want people to drive by and see that we’re in need of quality people who are willing to put some time in to help the community. It’s just one way we’re looking at advertising to attract some volunteers.”

CaseyEarl Mills installs the signage Monday.

Kimble said he hopes the garage-door-sized advertisement serves as a welcoming invitation to would-be volunteers. The tool is just the latest effort the department has made to attract more volunteers, the most recent being a partnership with a Buckhannon-Upshur High School marketing class.

BFD members also hope the ad persuades people to volunteer not just with the Buckhannon department, but alternatively, with one of Upshur County’s other six departments. Plus, unveiling the banner now, with the 80th annual West Virginia Strawberry Festival on the horizon, is ideal timing, Kimble said.

“With the Strawberry Festival coming up, it’ll be huge,” he said. “This is not only for our community but for the outlying communities and communities all over the state. Everybody will see it, so maybe that will give them a notion, wherever they live, to go back and see if their local fire department needs some help. If somebody from Rock Cave drives by and sees this, they may say, ‘hey, maybe I’ll stop at Rock Cave Fire Department and see what’s up.’”

The decal also represents the idea that the community can rely on the fire department, or as Kimble put it, “even when the garage door’s down, we’re still here.”

“It’s been a work in progress, and here’s the final product,” he said.

To learn more about volunteering with the BFD, call 304-472-2868 or stop by the department in the city’s Public Safety Complex at the corner of Florida and Main streets.

Casey Earl Mills and Jonah Mills put the finishing touches on the banner.

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