Aug. 2014 Jefferson Award: Jonita Schuman - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Aug. 2014 Jefferson Award: Jonita Schuman


Three years ago the Wolf River Volunteer Fire Department put out the call for help. They didn't have to look very far.

A young woman in their own back yard stepped up to pitch in and help out.

Jonita Schuman calls herself a "pencil pusher.”

Three years ago the Wolf River Volunteer Fire Department put a notice on its Facebook page asking for a volunteer to help write grants.

Schuman volunteered and became a member of the department's auxiliary and helped the department get new rescue equipment.

“I enjoyed it,” she said.

The chief and assistant fire chief's say that was just the beginning as Schuman is now in charge of filling out the departments national fire reporting requirements.

She also responds to emergency calls, backing up members of this close-knit team.

"Search and rescue is a big part of what we do here with incident command keeping track of our teams and where they are at, keeping an eye on people you know and some of these people I've known all my life."

She wishes more people would give their time to help out in rural communities relying on community members to volunteer their time.

“Volunteer fire departments need more volunteers and it would be great to see some younger people but there aren't many since there are no job opportunities."

Schuman considers herself lucky. After college she returned to her hometown to work as a teacher, using her fire department connections to bring life-saving safety lessons into the schools.

“Young children are often afraid of firefighters they are in all their gear. They look scary and sound scary and our goal has been to eliminate that fear."

Schuman also volunteers with the White Lake Fire Department and is involved in her church and community events. She says she has one simple reason for lending a helping hand.

“If no one volunteers the whole community suffers."

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