Richard Libby, a member of he Maine State Federation of Fire Fighters (MSFFF) for Waldo County, and the director of Fire Fighters' Memorials for the state of Maine, spoke at a recent meeting of the Thorndike Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary.

Libby spoke in depth on the benefit package for fire fighters who are injured or killed in the line of duty, as well as the benefit to their survivors through a lump sum payment and funeral costs. In some cases, spouses and surviving children are eligible for free tuition in the University of Maine system. There are also financial sums given for accidental death or dismemberment.

Statewide scholarships in the amount of $500 each or given yearly by MSFFF to two fire fighters and two emergency medical technicians for training in advanced fields. This money can be used for books, transportation or to offset the cost of the program, as well as lodging. These awards are given at the MSFFF Convention, which was held last month in Freeport. In September 2013, the MSFFF will hold its convention in Ellsworth. A statewide business meeting will be held, along with a parade and many vendors to add to the festivities.

The Maine State Federal of Fire fighters held its annual memorial on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the State House. On display were the three memorial plaques that give the names of each of the deceased fire fighters, the department or fire company to which he or she belonged and the year they died. These plaques are available for display at memorial services anywhere in the state.

There are lobbyists working with the state legislative committee and the Maine Fire Commission to assist in making laws for the betterment of all Maine citizens, such as sprinkler systems in new residences, public buildings, schools, nursing  homes an so on to prevent the loss of life.

Statewide grants are available from the various fire departments and companies, which write their own grant requests. These grants are given out yearly from June to October. Such grants helped to buy a new compressor and air bottles for one company and helped pay to train new fire fighters from another department. The uses of the grants can vary greatly from town to town according to the need. To learn more about matters previously discussed by the MSFFF, go to their website at www.msfff.org for a more detailed account.

The Thorndike Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary was formed in 1947 by a  handful of mothers, wives, sisters and friends led by Mrs. Mava Maxim.They work to help the fire company continue to serve the community and the surrounding towns.

The auxiliary maintains a fire canteen, called out by the fire chief day or night, to help with food, coffee and refreshments during extended fires, automobiles accidents and other disasters. They welcome new members, and interested persons may attend a meeting on the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Thorndike Volunteer Fire Company building on Gordon Hill Road.

Membership is open to anyone over 18 years old, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or handicap. The group is just one of Waldo County's auxiliaries, along with Islesboro, Searsmont, Troy and Winterport.