Nestled in Clay County, Tennessee, the East 52 Volunteer Fire Department is located in a small town near Dale Hollow Lake, which draws thousands of tourists each summer.
In addition to three fire trucks, East 52 has two fire boats that remain docked on the lake at all times, in case of a water emergency. The members of the department consider each other family, with the fire officers recognizing the value of retaining their volunteers. In the past year, volunteers worked together to remodel the fire hall and build bunk beds, which are used by volunteers each weekend so they may be available quickly for fire calls and perform equipment and building maintenance, training, cleaning and bonding with one another.
The bonds formed by these volunteers are strong. When the lieutenant recently had to report for training for a year-long military deployment, members got together to have a going-away dinner at the fire hall for him—coming together to purchase a tablet so that he could stay in touch. They also ensure that his wife’s car remains serviced, and also provide any other handiwork that she needs while he is away.
East 52 VFD participates in many community events. In the recent past, they formed a team for a benefit basketball tournament being held for a young girl with cancer. They also participate in the County Christmas parade, support other fire departments’ fundraisers and recognize the county’s first responders at a 9/11 event on the town square. Every Independence day, they travel to area boat docks to hand out safety materials, informing the public about the department’s fire boats and ensuring that fireworks displays remain safe.
To help offset the strain of limited funds, the department has created a series of fundraisers in their community including an annual motorcycle and classic car cruise around Dale Hollow Lake. They have also hosted cornhole tournaments, cake walks, yard sales, auctions and a fishing tournament.
East 52 prides itself on staying trained in firefighting, handling traffic accidents, HAZMAT compliance, public assists and rope and water rescue. They pride themselves on their community involvement and the level of service they provide.