North River firefighters cut wood for soldier serving in Afghanistan

— The Allens use the firewood for an outdoor wood furnace to heat their home. The furnace sits in front of their house, between two open-air woodsheds. She walked past the furnace, billowing with smoke, and laid a tray of refreshments on the tailgate of a pickup truck, next to gas cans for the chain saws. She made lunch for the volunteers.

“I just really want to thank these guys,” Julie said, with a tear running down her cheek. “It makes me proud to know that there are so many people that care about my husband.”

Asked about the festivities up the road, of paddlers and townspeople enjoying the freedom of the White Water Derby while Matthew is in Afghanistan fighting for that freedom, Julie thought about her family and the sacrifices American servicemen make for their country.

“To me it just proves that people here realize that there is a sacrifice always by everybody, the family, the men that are there, the communities that suffer because they are gone,” Julie said. “But the whole reason they are there is so people can be happy here at home.”

In small communities like North River, fire companies and other service groups look out for each other. They’re family.

“At the firehouse, we’re as close as any brothers or anything else,” John Donohue said. “What the fire companies do is an outstanding job, and when you lose one of your members for a year or two so he can go and defend the country, I think this is probably one of the nicest things we’ve ever done.”

Fire company members who helped the Allens included Rick Rogo, Jim Harrison, Will Davis, Scott Phillips, Fred Mors, John Donohue and Juan Pesquera.

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