Mathews Fire Chief Ronnie Lewis and his twin brother Donnie both grew up in the fire service. Their dad, Robert Minter Lewis, was a member of Mathews Volunteer Fire Department, and it was always a part of their family life.
As soon as they were old enough—18—the brothers joined the fire department, as well.
“It was fun and exciting as young people,” said Ronnie Lewis. “It was something that challenged you.”
Now, said Lewis, it’s sad to see that young people aren’t volunteering the way they once did. Mathews limits its membership to 90 members, and it used to have a waiting list of people who wanted to volunteer, but no longer. With only about half of its current 70 volunteer firefighters active, the department is seeking new members, hoping that younger people can be the future of the department.
“Firefighting’s a tough job,” said Lewis. “To volunteer, you have to really love it.”
But it has its rewards. Lewis said he and his brother were accepted and respected by older...
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