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Small department. Big heart.
by Julianna Leach
Jay Sanders had a vision when he became chief of the Cynthiana Fire Department. He saw a team of firefighters that the city would come to know as family.
For Jay that meant being involved directly with the community.
“Compassion is probably the biggest thing that makes people firemen,” he says.
On a typical day, Jay can be found chasing down mice in city hall, controlling floodwaters or welcoming students at Eastside Elementary to school in the morning.
No task is too little for him.
“I want them to call us and feel like there is a family member coming to help them,” Jay says.
At home his large family continues with his competition bird dogs. He says working with them is a lot like working with the fire department. It’s a team.
In the golden broom sage along the hillside behind Jay's house, Maple, a Brittney puppy, catches the scent of a bird and points for the first time. Jay has been training the puppy for his son, Jackson.
Jay says Jackson's goal is to one day beat him in a competition.
"That's my goal, too," he says.
It's about carrying on a fading sport that is rooted in his family history better than the one before them. Jay's grandfather also worked with bird dogs. He says that when he is training them it reminds him of all he was taught.
"This is really like my sanctuary," he says.