While thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Mt. Juliet Fire Chief Jamie Luffman is reminded of the men and women of Rehab 23 and the work they do in supporting our emergency responders.
Rehab 23 is a group of volunteers that specializes in the care and rehabilitation of on-scene firefighters, police and other emergency responders. Firefighters carry nearly 100 pounds of equipment into burning buildings with temperatures upwards of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Police officers may remain at a dangerous scene for hours without food or rest. All emergency personnel put their lives on the line in dangerous situations, and require monitoring to avoid injury and ensure proper rest.
That’s where Rehab 23 comes in. Operating out of the Mt. Juliet Fire Hall on Belinda Parkway, Rehab 23 responds to calls from dispatches and provides support to all first responders in Wilson County, including the MJPD, WCSO, WEMA, Lebanon Fire, Lebanon PD, Watertown PD & VFD, TBI and THP. They operate two vehicles, a converted ambulance and a jeep support vehicle, outfitted with places for first responders to rest, as well as drinks and meals to rehydrate and rejuvenate them.
“Most notably recognized by their Royal Blue golf shirts and their super-heterodyne fluorescent orange coats, the members of Rehab 23 serve those that serve you during your emergency,” says Luffman. “They provide warmth in the cooler months and cool in the summer months with a vehicle stocked full of coffee, coke, water, cookies, crackers and the ‘forbidden fruit’ … frosted honey buns.”
Rehab 23 is a volunteer organization, and depends on donations and the goodwill of its participants in order to function. The members support the county’s first responders out of the kindness of their own hearts. They expect no money in return, but Fire Chief Luffman believes that the community could compensate them in what is perhaps a more meaningful way.
“Rehab 23 does not get near the recognition for their contribution,” says Luffman. “They allow us to serve you better, so if you see them out and about at incidents, trainings, special events, parades and the like, please thank them for the care they give to your responders.”
Finally, Luffman speaks on behalf of the Mt. Juliet Fire Department: “I pray you never need us in the business sense, but if you do, when you look up, you’ll hope to see us. While we are there, we’ll look up and hope to see them. I have not known them for my career, some I have only known for a few months; but they are some of the best people doing the best job in emergency services.”