A Tribute to an "Ex-Friend"

Randy At The Crossroads-SmallThis blog entry has nothing to do with animals. It has everything to do with friendship. And gratitude.

Today (Saturday, May 24, 2014) was the first day of our Stop-N-Adopt weekend at the Cashiers Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, and it also marked the first day of the Memorial Day weekend when the folks who put their lives on the line to protect our people, pets and property conduct the annual “boot drive” at the Crossroads to raise funds for the Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department. CGVFD protects approximately 135 square miles, including the communities of Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Glenville, Big Ridge, Yellow Mountain, Pine Creek, Norton and Heady Mountain.

Non-profit organizations aren’t normally known to do a shout-out and support other non-profit charities. Well, the non-profit world has never met two “ex-friends” like Randy and me. That label was a running joke that got started when CGVFD Fire Chief Randy Dillard and I first met in 2012. Just weeks after I arrived in Cashiers, I was sent to meet Randy to ask if he could help get a banner down from the Crossroads so we could use it that night at Pawsitively Purrfect Evening.

Randy proceeded to help, all right. He drove me to the Crossroads and asked if I was afraid of heights. (I’m not.) He then told me, “Well… go up there and get your banner”. I took this picture from the top of the aerial ladder truck as I removed our banner at the Exxon. That was two years ago, and probably the moment when our mutual respect began, and in Randy’s words, he started calling me his new “ex-friend”. I, of course, returned the favor.

If only I could be so lucky to have more “ex-friends” like Randy.

The Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society rescues and saves the lives of animals, and helps find forever homes. But the Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department saves the lives of all of us, and protects our homes as well.

This morning, Randy was the first person I walked out to by the side of the road to shake his hand and thank him and his team for what they do. We started out with what now is our usual greeting: “There’s my ex-friend Dave! There’s my ex-friend Randy!” They were out at the Crossroads this morning with the boot drive, and twelve hours later as I am writing this, I hear the sirens going down Highway 64. Randy predicted as much this morning with these words: “We love all the folks who are now back in town, but it’s going to be a busy weekend for the Fire Department”.

On behalf of everyone at the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to Chief Randy Dillard and all the brave firefighters at the Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department for all that you do!

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