This past weekend, hundreds of guests, cooks and volunteers came out en masse to support the annual Woodburn Firehouse Cook-off.

Many of the grill teams were made of current or former emergency personnel, and it was a wonderful site to see community members pour their support into the Woodburn Fire District and the charities it supports.

But we must remember that not every member of the Woodburn fire department was present at the popular cooking competition.

While most people were enjoying a relaxing weekend of food and fun, Capt. Jay Hannon and three members of the Woodburn fire department, as well as members of the Hubbard Fire District, were helping to battle the Rowena fire near The Dalles. More than 800 fire personnel from across the state helped to suppress the blaze in the Columbia River Gorge, one of many wildfires devastating Oregon and the Western United States.

With the closest hospitals located in Silverton or Newberg, firefighters are often the first responders to arrive when people are in need of emergency services.

Woodburn firefighters were there to help fight the fire that struck Woodburn High School just over two years ago.

They were there to support the Woodburn Police Department when it lost Capt. Tom Tennant (who died along with Senior Trooper Bill Hakim)?in the 2008 West Coast Bank bombing and when Chief Scott Russell was severely maimed.

And they are present at hundreds more emergency situations around Woodburn and the surrounding area that never make the news but impact the lives of citizens every day.

Of course these heroic actions are not just limited to members of the Woodburn Fire District, but those paid personnel and volunteers in Hubbard, Gervais, St. Paul, Mount Angel and around the country who choose to risk their lives every day to help their fellow community members.

These firefighters are the embodiment of what it means to be Woodburn Proud. Thank you for your service.

The editorial is the official position of the newspaper and does not necessarily represent the opinion of any individual newspaper employee. The other views expressed on this page are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Woodburn Independent or its staff.

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