Protect Hopewell Valley: How and why did you decide to volunteer?
Annmarie Soganic: My father and his father were very active at Princeton First Aid and Princeton Hook & Ladder. Hopewell (Fire Department & EMU) had a youth competition team, and a good friend who was on it invited me to come down one day to her meeting. I got hooked. I love it. When people are at their most vulnerable, you are able to render emergency care and comfort.
PHV: Why do you stick with it?
AS: I’m an adrenaline junkie who likes to help people.
PHV: Describe your most memorable moment as an EMT.
AS: There isn’t one moment. Every call we go on, every fundraiser we do, they are all memorable. A great group of volunteers at Union make it worth it. Every time I’m there, every call I go on, every supervisory thing I do as chief – there’s no one thing.
PHV: What has surprised you about working as an EMT?
AS: My kids joining was awesome. I was surprised by how powerful a feeling it was to see them do that. And when my kids started, there was a great group of young people ages 14 to 16, and now, it is starting up again. We have a lot of junior members again now, and that is working out really great.
PHV: Any advice for those interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or EMT?
AS: You need to have the passion to care for somebody besides your own family and friends. If you are thinking about it, you have to try it to see if it is for you. But if it is not for you, and you would still like to help, there are so many other roles. We need people to do administrative work and to do fundraising. When we have a long fire, the auxiliary comes out with food and hot coffee. It takes a lot of people behind the scenes to keep us up and running, and we need that back-up support so that we can make these calls and take care of the community.