The spectre of Hurricane Ian lurks in the background during Leon County's 26th Annual Volunteer Firefighter Expo
Leon County's annual celebration of its 6 volunteer fire companies moved to Tallahassee's Tom Brown Park on Saturday. The kids especially enjoyed the chance to check out all the fire-fighting trucks and other gear.
Miccosukee Volunteer Fire Company Chief Brian Carroll admitted most of those fire trucks weren't new. His company's oldest dates back to 1988.
"Believe it or not, though, it's been more reliable than the new stuff, which is kind of funny!" he chuckled.
But much newer is the shiny new plaque, designating Chief Carroll the county's Volunteer Fireman of the Year."
"It's very humbling when my comrades vote on an award like that for me."
Despite all the fun and festivities, there was also the sobering spectre of what Hurricane Ian had wrought elsewhere in Florida. Edgardo Grajales with the state Firefighter Association had just returned from the Fort Myers area and had these observations.
"A lot of destruction, a lot of sadness, a lot of bravery, a lot of suffering."
And this area's volunteer fire fighters know too well they might be the only ones who could respond quickly for many residents if the same thing happened here.