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A mission to serve

February 06, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY

erinc@herald-mail.com

Glenn Fuscsick owns about 900 pieces of firefighting memorabilia and keeps most of them neatly displayed in his offices in Funkstown and Baltimore.

His favorite item - a 1967 Maxim firetruck he bought at an auction in 2003 - is stored at the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

He's been collecting the smaller items, like model fire engines and station replicas, since he was a child and began volunteering as a firefighter and emergency medical technician in college.

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Fuscsick, who lives in Boonsboro with his wife and two daughters, was elected president of the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association in December 2005.

Fuscsick said he has several initiatives for improving the association, including financial recordkeeping within the companies and enforcing existing training guidelines.

There are 33 volunteers enrolled in a pump operator class in Washington County, he said.

"We've already increased response rates (in January) and have better-qualified people out there," Fuscsick said.

He said his goal is to increase fire and rescue workers' safety on the job.

"We want to make sure they are physically safe and healthy," he said. "We're going to have mandatory physicals. We're instituting better safety standards on the fire ground."

Fuscsick isn't only working to ensure better safety and effectiveness for firefighters now, he's also thinking about the future.

The county, he said, is experiencing a jump in population that already has affected the fire and rescue community. He believes the county is three years behind where it should be in dealing with the area's growth.

His hope is to set a standard that will help the county's fire and ambulance companies adapt to the growth and serve residents.

"It's to help serve the citizens of Washington County," Fuscsick said. "That's what we are here for."

When Fuscsick was looking for a building to open a local accounting office, he said the Funkstown location was perfect. He had always wanted to work in a historic building.

Being only a few doors away from the fire station also was ideal.

Fuscsick, a past deputy chief at the Funkstown station, is able to respond to emergency calls during the day - a time when many volunteers are working out of town. He responded to 80 calls last year.

"If I don't have appointments, I go down the street to drive a firetruck or do whatever it takes," he said.

Fuscsick began working as a paid firefighter for Hagerstown about two years ago. He used his accounting training to help the city's fire department earn more than $500,000 in grants during the past three years.

He was a representative from Funkstown to the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association before being named president. Fuscsick said he ran for office in the county association because he believed he could help the county's fire companies serve their communities better.

"I wanted to further the association and help manage the fire service during the county's growth," he said. "I want to help better serve the citizens of Washington County."

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