When the fire truck sirens go off, two Pomperaug Woods team members spring into action. It’s all in a day’s work for James Sutherland and Brian Francione, who have spent a combined 56 years as volunteer firefighters in local communities. They say they enjoy the parallels with their “day jobs” of working with Southbury seniors and volunteering as firefighters.
James landed his job as a diet aid at Pomperaug Woods two decades ago. In 1998, he decided he wanted to give back to his community and joined the Oxford volunteer fire department. Over the years, he’s been on hundreds of calls to help people in harm’s way.
Brian grew up spending lots of time at the local fire station, as his father was a fire chief. He joined the Southbury volunteer fire department 36 years ago. He’s also the maintenance supervisor at Pomperaug Woods, helping residents fix their household items. He enjoys meeting with the seniors and hearing how he’s making a difference in their lives.
Volunteering has been found to increase psychological well-being, helping people feel that they have an important role in society. Both Brian and James say they know they’re making a difference in the lives of Pomperaug Woods residents and the area residents they serve as volunteer firefighters.