MENTONE, Ala. (WHNT) - Mentone is a quaint, small town. With a population of a few hundred people, there’s an even smaller population that is constantly at work - the volunteer firefighters. After they battled the blaze that destroyed the historic Mentone Springs Hotel in early March, one business owner wanted to recognize them for their efforts that day and every other day of the year.
“Their diligence and their commitment to the community,” says Cynthia Stinson when describing what impresses her the most about the Mentone Volunteer Fire Department.
Stinson owns the Mentone Inn, which is across the street from the Mentone Springs Hotel that burned down. The Mentone Inn wasn’t damaged, but Stinson says it was a close call.
“As a business person here at the Mentone Inn and for the entire town, if the wind had shifted, it would have been a whole different story,” explains Stinson. “They were there to contain the fire and they did a fantastic job and we just want to say thank you.”
A thank you that came in the form of a pizza party at the firefighters weekly meeting and a surprise Pay it Forward.
David Tucker, who volunteers and is chairman of the board that oversees the department, graciously accepted the $319.
“Everything we do is from donations and from the tax money that we get through the state,” says Tucker. “People don’t realize that none of the work that the fire department does, from sweeping the floors to washing the trucks, none of that is paid. It’s all volunteer work.”
It’s work that volunteer firefighters like Weston Fortner do with pride. So, the recognition is appreciated.
“It shows that the community really thinks a lot of the fire department and they want to help out,” says Fortner. “They’ve been a great support throughout this, with the hotel fire. They’re 100 percent supportive of us.”
Tucker says the money will help them continue to fulfill their passion, which is serving people.
“It’s all about caring for your neighbors and being willing to get up and go when a neighbor is in need,” says Tucker.
The Mentone Volunteer Fire Department covers around 100 square acres. Currently, 18 volunteers are on the roster, but that fluctuates. Tucker says they need more and encourages people to volunteer.