Coping with layoff stress by volunteering

WILSON'S MILLS "I've been around this station since I was born," offered Chad Barbour.

"I been here with the fire department for a little over 20 years," said Anthony Medlin.

Barbour and Medlin are two of 40-some-odd volunteer firefighters in town, and they're also two of thousands in the Triangle who've recently lost their jobs.

"It's a rough time. I mean you look at the economy and everything and you wonder what's going on," said Medlin.

Medlin had been with Caterpillar for more than a decade when he was let go in mid-December. Barbour lost his plumbing job right around the same time.

"It was really like the flip of a light switch. One day it was there, the next day it was gone," Barbour explained. Neither is holding out too much hope their job will return. The search for work isn't easy.

"Used to when you picked up a paper and you'd see job openings. It'd be page and a half, two pages, and now you're down to a couple paragraphs," said Medlin.

Despite the grim outlook, he's not despairing.

"There's people a whole lot worse off than I am," he said.

The men say they're doing alright dealing with it. They're getting by through faith and the fire department.

"I'd rather spend some time helping someone than worrying about what the bank's gonna say," said Medlin.

"What you do have, hold onto it a little bit tighter, especially family," said Barbour.

And that's whether it's the family you go home to or the one you find at the firehouse.

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