Oct 9, 2012 10:27 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
GREEN VALLEY, Ariz.- Green Valley is primarily known for its large retirement community, but it's also being recognized for something else these days.
This year the International Fire Service Training Association named the Green Valley Fire Corps the best in the country.
The group was formed in 2006 with about 11 volunteers. Today it has about 50 volunteers.
They respond to non-emergency calls like snake removal and smoke alarm replacements.
"We do smoke alarm battery replacements, we do snake removal, gila monsters, all of the desert critters," says Volunteer Gary Gozdecki.
Like most volunteer fire organizations, their main goal is to free up the firefighters.
"That allows our firefighters and our engine companies to do the essential training we have to do and be available for the emergency calls that come in," Green Valley Fire Captain Jeff Mooney says.
But this volunteer fire organization is a little different from others across the country. "Most fire corps across the country are young people trying to get into the fire department," says Green Valley Fire Corps Chief Tom Allen. "That's not the case with us."
All of its volunteers are retired. "I usually work with a gentlemen who is 84-years-old," Allen says.
Allen himself is 66-years-old. He worked for AT&T for 30 years.
Brad Budnick, 77, is a former engineer for Ford Motor Company. He has been volunteering for the past six years. "I just enjoy meeting people and doing things for other people," Budnick says. "It's just a lot of fun."
Most of them didn't expect to join a fire corps in their golden years. "Not in my wildest dreams," Allen says.
But they work with dedication and determination and say it's an organization the community needs.
If you would like to learn more about the Green Valley Fire Corps head to www.gvfire.org/fire-corps/