Many people paved the path by supporting me and giving of themselves. I try to give back and hopefully do the same for others.
Jarrettsville, MD resident Todd McKinney learned the importance of volunteering from his mother. She was a social worker and counselor who raised Todd to always give back when able, and to take care of others to the best of his ability. In college, Todd joined the school’s student volunteer EMS department, where he received his initial training, became an EMT, and learned fire and rescue tactics. More than three decades later, Todd continues to serve, currently as a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department. He is also a member of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services.
“I’ve been a volunteer and Pro certified firefighter for 34 years,” says Todd. “I pull duty approximately once a week and run calls during times in between, riding the engine and driving an ambulance for EMS providers. Along with those duties, I am the recruitment and retention chair for the department as well as the chair of the county association’s recruitment and retention committee representing all 12 fire/EMS departments.”
The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department, a combination fire and EMS department that answers more than 10,000 emergency calls a year, has been part of the community since the 1890s. The organization has a dedicated group of 175 individuals who provide 24/7 service to the residents of Bel Air and the surrounding communities. As a member of NVFC, Todd is able to access meaningful support for himself and his department through the NVFC’s educational programs, emphasis on health and safety, and resources for volunteer recruitment.
“Most people are not aware that approximately 65% of all firefighters across the country are volunteer,” says Todd, “and fire departments are having a difficult time maintaining and recruiting new members. As a member of the county association’s staffing committee and marketing committee, I assist the team in providing and identifying potential means to increase our volunteer staff. We sometimes take for granted the things that have been put in place for us by others in our communities, as well as those who came before us. I like to recognize the people who have paved the path for me by giving back to others.”
When Todd isn’t volunteering, he likes to go “junking” and attend auctions for old Americana and fire service antiques. His favorite Cabot cheese is Pepper Jack. Todd’s wife, Elizabeth, will be joining him on the cruise.