Vienna is a rural community located in south central Georgia that believes in looking after its own. Quite often, it is the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) that takes the lead when a need arises. It may be someone suffering from an illness, a family who has lost everything in a fire or a fallen soldier. Recently, firefighters demonstrated patriotism by rallying the community to salute a fallen soldier as his motorcade passed through Vienna, taking him to his final resting place. In 1999, Vienna was devastated by a tornado. VVFD was among the first out helping victims clean up their properties.
VVFD is staffed by 25 volunteer firefighters, all state certified. The city has an ISO Class 4 rating, which is outstanding for a 100 percent volunteer organization. The department serves the population of Vienna and the immediate surrounding unincorporated area - approximately 80 square miles and 5,500 people. The department also has mutual aid agreements with several neighboring communities. VVFD was established in 1902 and throughout its 112 years there have only been 12 chiefs. Some volunteers have followed in their fathers' footsteps. It's a family affair. Their wives have formed a ladies’ auxiliary to assist with charitable fundraising events. The bond between these men is one of camaraderie and trust. They are a team. It's in their blood. To these firemen, serving the VVFD comes second only after God and family.
In addition to fighting fires, VVFD provides extrication services to assist local EMS. They also aid other communities throughout the state with search and rescue and cleanup after natural disasters. In 2007, VVFD assisted with the massive wild fires in the Okefenokee Swamp area.
VVFD conducts programs on fire prevention and safety for local schools, organizations and public housing facilities. They hold annual events to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation. Since 2013, the VVFD has contributed over $50,000 to SFBF after losing a fellow firefighter to burn injuries sustained in a farming accident. The auxiliary recently published a cookbook to raise money to aid burn victims.
Since 1987, the VVFD's competition BBQ cooking team has won at local, regional and national levels, providing public relations all over the southeast for the city. The team participates in Vienna's BIG PIG JIG® annual barbeque festival. They have cooked for state legislators, Thanksgiving meal programs, children's hospitals and even for former President Jimmy Carter.
The words of President John F. Kennedy describe, in a nutshell, the selfless dedication of the VVFD, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." These firefighters are true public servants who not only fight fires, but do whatever needs to be done to make this small piece of America a great place to live.