I didn't really know Mark Doty-the beloved fireman who was killed in an ATV accident last week-but I do know the Paden City Volunteer Fire Company to which he belonged and served tirelessly. And really, if I knew one, I feel I?knew the other. They were that intertwined.
The members of the PCVFC have to be some of the hardest working people I?have ever seen. They are constantly putting on fund raisers-working long, tiring hours in their famous concession stand as well as hosting fish fries, breakfasts, and more. Just this past Sunday, after what had to be a grueling few days, the members of the PCVFC put on a ham dinner. Their energy is boundless.
That had to also describe Doty. The legacy he has left in his all-too-short 28 years is full of energy, work, and passion.
You don't work that hard-as the company, auxiliary, or an individual-without passion. Long, tiring work without passion is not sustainable. If you know the PCVFC, you know they have longevity. Those men and women have been members of that group-and I mean active members-for decades.
They are also a family. I have had the privilege, many times, to attend their annual banquet. At this event they go over the activities of the past year and recognize officers. They poke a little fun at each other, just like a family does.
But one year at the banquet, I was left with tears in my eyes.
Because one of their members was joining the military-perhaps even being deployed to the Middle East, if I recall correctly.
The young man, from what I?could tell, had no family. But of course that isn't true if he was a member of the PCVFC. He had a bigger family than most people could imagine.
He went to the podium and began to speak-telling the group how much they had meant to him, how much he appreciated them, and how much he would miss them. At one point he became so emotional that he couldn't speak. Members of the PCVFC, his family, flocked to him in a big group hug. He was one of them.
That is much like what happened Saturday. Members of a big family-not just the PCVFC but firefighters across the state and even other states-flocked to Paden City to show their love for a member of their family.
Mark Doty is loved. His life made huge impacts now and for years to come. He will be missed.