A John Deere Publication
Three volunteer firefighters in uniform surrounded by smoke

All proceeds of the film's sale go to National Volunteer Fire Council and filmmakers.

Rural Living, Education   January 01, 2024

Odd Hours, No Pay, Cool Hat


Volunteer firefighter numbers are declining rapidly across the United States.

After nearly 30 years as a volunteer firefighter, one thought keeps Jake Smith going. "What if there was a call and nobody showed up?" he asks. It's a very real concern.

Volunteer firefighters provide lifesaving coverage to more than 70% of the United States. That means, on potentially the worst day of your life, your call for help will be answered by someone who does it not for money, but for community.

"Many of our volunteer stations have an aging crew," Sarah Lee, CEO for the National Volunteer Fire Council says. "And many of our volunteers stay on because they love what they do, the service they provide. But they also stay on because they're afraid if they retire there won't be someone ready to replace them."

Smith, a product development specialist for five years at John Deere, represents a growing number of Deere employees who have chosen firefighting to support their home communities. And the John Deere Foundation has shown its support by honoring those employees by donating money to qualified nonprofits for each volunteer hour the employee records.

"We know more volunteer firefighters are needed all over the United States and beyond," said Nate Clark, president of the Foundation. "(The film is) paying tribute to the amazing service being done while also, hopefully, inspiring others to sign up."

That's why Deere joined forces with the National Volunteer Fire Council, Hold Fast Features, and Vignette to produce a documentary called Odd Hours, No Pay, Cool Hat. Inspired by an original story by Peter Yoakum, Odd Hours is available on public television, digital, Blu-ray and DVD. Visit OddHoursFilm.com for ways you can watch and support volunteer firefighting. ‡

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