When the alarm sounds for an emergency in Del Norte County, as many as 50 to 60 volunteer firefighters band together to set things right.
Now these same firefighters are teaming up to fight for one of their own.
Roselyn Coltra, a secretary for both the city and Crescent fire departments, is battling breast cancer for the second time.
Not only has she kept the office running smoothly at the Crescent Fire Protection District on Washington Boulevard for the past decade, but, as Debra Wakefield says, "Roselyn is the 'Fire Mom,' the person who's always there for the firefighters, and now they want to be there for her."
Less than a month ago, after enduring weekly cancer treatments, Roselyn's doctor told her the chemo was having no effect. But she hasn't given up. Neither have the firefighters she's served.
Last Wednesday, she and husband Dan boarded a 5:30 a.m. flight out of Crescent City, bound for Cancer Treatment Centers of America's new breast cancer facility outside of Chicago. There, she hopes to get a second chance to beat the disease that took the lives of her mother and sister.
At the airport, firefighters came out to give her a grand send-off. After clearing it with Transportation Security Administration officers and alerting the other passengers, a squadron of firetrucks lined the tarmac with lights flashing in a parting salute to Roselyn as she boarded the plane.
The firefighters are organizing a spaghetti feed fundraiser Friday to help Roselyn with the expenses of medical treatment. From 4 to 8 p.m., the station at 255 W. Washington Blvd. will serve up a spaghetti dinner with salad, garlic bread and dessert.
Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. Tickets can be purchased at Northwoods Restaurant, Del Norte Office Supply or from any firefighter. Pre-orders will be accepted, and delivered, to groups of 10 or more.
Patrons have the option of dining in or taking it to go - without even leaving the comfort of their own vehicles, thanks to Fire Chief Steve Wakefield's idea of setting up a drive-through, Debra said.
"They'll be taking the fire trucks out of the bays," said Debra. "Dennis Sutton is making traffic signs," directing people to drive in behind the station and enter the back bay doors.
There'll also be other activities for people to show their support. T-shirts will be sold for $20, as well as a silent auction, the Firefighter's Donation Boot, and an area to create Valentine's messages for Roselyn, which Debra will post on Facebook "to let her know that we're pulling for her."
"Roselyn is the shoulder for the firefighters, the listening ear," when they've dealt with a stressful emergency, said Debra. "She's a kind of 'den mother' who's taken care of them, that person who's always there to help out. Sometimes you just need that kind of person."
In addition, Roselyn has been a supporter of the community by volunteering to babysit, free of charge, for parents attending CERT classes - Community Emergency Response Team - led by Emergency Services Coordinator Cindy Henderson throughout the year. CERT-trained volunteers "are the people who will step up and help out in many ways in any disaster," said Debra.
Now, in addition to the firefighters, other members of the community are stepping up to assist in the efforts to pull off the fundraiser.
"Every day I get calls from people saying, 'I want to help, put me on a committee,'" Debra said. "It doesn't get better than that. That's why we live here. That's small-town wonderful."
Reach Laura Wiens at email@example.com .