POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- Ray Clark and Bob Meyer have been volunteer firefighters in Pound Ridge longer than most of the town's residents have been alive.
Clark and Meyer, both 78, have combined to give the town 95 years of service in fighting fires and responding to auto accidents.
"I've been here so much, my wife thinks I should just put my bed in the fire house," said Meyer, a resident of Pound Ridge since 1969.
Meyer and Clark were persuaded to join the fire department by friends shortly after moving into town and have never left. They are responsible for training new volunteers, conducting meetings, as well as being first responders.
"I sleep with my cell phone next to my bed," said Clark, a native of Stamford, Conn., who worked for a power company before retiring. "It takes a toll on your family life because you should probably be spending more time at home. But when I get a call I drop everything. The key is getting the first piece of apparatus on the road and getting it to the scene, whether it be a fire or car accident."
The veteran firefighters are part of a team made up of 45 volunteers who are vital to the safety and welfare of the town.
"You're always on call. There is always something and somebody needs to do it," said Clark. "The town cannot afford a paid fire department and has to rely on all of us."
Meyer and Clark are part of the fabric of Pound Ridge and volunteering is in their blood. It has to be. They have worked incredibly long hours over the years without seeking praise or reward. Giving back to the community is what they do and what they hope will be part of their legacy.
"You're doing something for the town and helping other people," said Clark. "Some people like to be in politics and so forth. Others are happy to help other people and that's what we do. At least you can feel you did something in your life that's worthwhile while you're here. And that means a lot."
Meyer, who is a native of Mount Vernon, said they get something rewarding in return for helping people.
"I love helping others and it's been very fulfilling," Meyer said.
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