The fire department at Buckhorn got a boost this week after the Buckhorn city council approved a donation of $6,000 to help the volunteer department with some needed upgrades.
Buckhorn Mayor Pat Wooton, who was one of the department’s founding members, presented the check to Fire Chief Randy Gabbard this week, noting the department plays an important role in the area and not just for the city of Buckhorn. Wooton said while other departments respond when needed, because of the area’s remoteness it may take responders from neighboring communities a good deal of time to reach the scene of an emergency.
“The fire department is important to the city council, as is evidenced by their decision to contribute some funds to help it upgrade and modernize what we can,” Wooton said.
The department, located within the city limits, also responds to calls in nearby Breathitt and Owsley counties along with the Buckhorn community, Chief Gabbard noted. These city funds will help the department upgrade some of its equipment, and also purchase a new generator and chainsaw and upgrade all of its extinguishers.
But one of the major hurdles the department faces at present is recruitment. Gabbard first volunteered at Buckhorn when he was 18 years old, but said younger generations simply aren’t as involved as they used to be. He added that anyone with any interest is welcome to volunteer.
“We have got to have the younger generation in order for it to survive,” he said. “If you don’t have it, eventually it’s going to go under, you’re not going to have the people to operate it.”