A bipartisan bill passed in Raleigh gives volunteer firefighters in our state the chance to get a lifetime hunting and fishing license at half the price.
Many lawmakers say this is a way to say thank you, but it’s also a way to hopefully recruit more volunteers.
Will Stafford spends whatever free time he has at the Winterville Community Fire Department.
Stafford said, “I take pride in the community and I like to help out when I can.”
He has a full-time job but is also a fire lieutenant.
NC Senator Jim Perry said, “What you’ve had is generations of selfless people, who have given so much to others and a lot of folks don’t even think about that.”
Now, for one reason or another, it’s hard to get people to volunteer.
Stafford said, “There’s always a need for volunteers, especially in Pitt County, 10, 20 years ago, people really helped the community out, whether they were farmers, community workers, they didn’t mind.”
Lawmakers in Raleigh have passed a bill; it gives people who have volunteered at a fire department at least 5 years the ability to get a lifetime hunting and fishing license for half the price.
Perry said, “Because of what they do, homeowners insurance is a lot lower than it would be without them and the lives that have been saved, just by having a volunteer fire dept. so close.”
Senator Perry says this bill got bi-partisan support but it was still a challenge to get it passed.
He says some people questioned, why just volunteer firefighters and others were concerned taxes could go up down the road, but, Perry says he doesn’t think that’ll happen.
Perry said, “I think if it makes a hand full of people feel good, and some folks stick around to get it, it doesn’t really add the expense to the state.”
He also says this is a good place to start, just to say thank you and sees how it works, maybe in the future, they can extend this option to other groups of volunteers.
Stafford said, “I really hope it helps recruit some people, eastern NC is a hunting community.”
Perry says the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will hopefully have the option available online later this month for volunteer firefighters to get the license half off.