Dive team president Andy Garey is shown demonstrating being a volunteer diver. (Photo: WBOC)
PRESTON, Md.- Budget cuts are nothing new these days but a shortage of funding is impacting the Preston Volunteer Fire Company in Caroline County and its highly-trained dive team in particular.
A drowning on June 17 in Marsh Creek has people in town showing more interest in joining the company's dive team.
But team president Andy Garey said training new members takes money, which the department simply doesn't have.
"We pay for your class but you have to still buy a certain amount of your equipment and it costs $300 to $400 just to buy the basic equipment," he said.
Garey said being a dive team member takes a lot of work because it is a strenuous job.
Right now Preston only has three dive members and Garey but new members are welcome.
"I would like to help out the community in all of the ways and that helps out the fire company," said 16-year-old cadet Zach Darlyng.
Darlyng is one of several young people in town expressing interest in joining the department's dive team.
"You get tired quickly because we have been doing it for a while," explained Garey,"We are older and it just tires you out so much because the tide is very strong through there."
Garey said it is not just more divers the team needs but also dive equipment that needs an upgrade.
"It's just no way we can afford that and keep our equipment up," Garey said. "So we have to physically get our equipment checked yearly for inspections and certification and that costs us $1,000 a year."
The dive team will have its next fundraiser on July 1. Garey said the fire company hopes the community will come out and show its support.
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