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Tornado takes emotional toll on first responders

Firefighters reflect on devastation storm caused, minimal injuries

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ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – The tornado that hit Franklin County on Friday wreaked havoc on homes, causing extensive physical damage. It also took an emotional toll on first responders.

Saturday, Rocky Mount firefighters counted their blessings that no citizens or first responders were seriously injured.

The aftermath of the tornado and the devastation it could have caused hit home for the department. Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the line of duty death of volunteer fireman Herbert "Butch" Wilcox.

Firefighters say he truly was devoted to helping others and they could use more volunteers with his passion.

That's why fire and EMS departments across Franklin County held a recruitment event on Saturday called "Gear Up Franklin County."

They held open houses at all fire stations to let the community know what they do, how they can join and encourage everyone to volunteer.

"When someone comes up and says 'thank you,' it means something to you inside. We never set out to be a hero. We're never going to proclaim to be one. It does feel good to see that you made an impact on somebody's day," said Fire Chief Justin Paul Woodrow from the Rocky Mount Fire Department 

They're looking for volunteers of all ages. If you're interested in volunteering, contact the Franklin County Public Safety Department or your local fire station.


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