(5/10/12 – Clay, NY)
CLAY -- Some local volunteer firefighters will soon be TV stars. The firefighters have been picked to appear in a TV commercial being filmed in Central New York.
The commercial is part of a statewide campaign to help attract more volunteer firefighters. It is being filmed at the Town of Clay fire department off Route 31.
Local firefighters were chosen to star in this commercial after a statewide casting call and video contest. In recent years, fire departments across the state have been struggling to fill their ranks with volunteers.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York hopes the statewide commercial will help departments across New York bring in new members.
Two volunteer firefighters, one from the Buffalo area and one from Oriskany, will be featured in the commercials. They will be seen in interviews and also action shots of crews responding to a car accident and a house fire.
Jeff D'Allesandro, of the Fire Association of the State of New York, says one of the goals in the making of the commercial was to find real life volunteers who could tell their stories in their own words.
Fayetteville volunteer firefighter Doug Koe has been in a lot of unexpected situations during his years as a firefighter, but starring in a TV commercial is something he never expected.
"This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, but I think it's really exciting to know that we are trying to make a difference for everybody else out there who's thinking of becoming a fire fighter," say Koe.
Koe and other volunteers have been filming the commercial, which is part of a campaign to recruit volunteer firefighters at the Clay fire station this week.
"We put out a casting call statewide," says Koe.
D'Allesandro says the commercial will feature real volunteers telling their own stories.
The commercial is being shot in Clay, but it will be seen by a much bigger audience.
"This is a statewide campaign from Westchester to Plattsburgh to Buffalo. We are going to cover every community that we possibly can," says D'Allesandro.
Koe says becoming a volunteer firefighter is one of the most rewarding decisions he's ever made.
"I've been doing this for 21 years, and everyday is a new day. Living in the community where you volunteer, it's just great to have all the people come up to you and say thank you for what you do," says D'Allesandro.
Funding for the commercial and recruiting campaign was made possible by a $4.2 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The commercial will make its statewide debut on June 4th.