PEEKSKILL, N.Y. - Depending on how you look at it, it might seem like Mike Ruh has not had a day off in 35 years. That’s because the volunteer firefighter often uses his emergency medical service know-how to help people wherever he goes.
“We've used emergency medical services to help strangers and our own families,” he said of the Verplanck Fire Department.
Ruh’s involvement in the volunteer organization is in his genes. His great-grandfather founded the department in 1929, and he has been a member for the past 35 years. Ruh was also department chief from 1993-95 and 2004-06. His young son recently continued the tradition by suiting up in a firefighter's uniform.
“He started two years ago and has really gotten into it,” Ruh said.
Ruh's extracurricular volunteer hours aren't his only services to the community. His skill-set has even proved useful at Entergy Indian Point nuclear power plant, where he is a member of its confined space rescue team. There, he is responsible for maintaining safety in close proximity to hazardous materials.
“If you’re in a manhole, you have a team on standby just in case to take the proper precautions,” he said. “Say a guy has a heart attack down there. You need to know how to get him out.”
Ruh added that of course, some of the abilities he has picked up on the job have helped elsewhere. Expert knot-tying, for example, has come in particularly handy working around his house.