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PHOENIX -- Mesa Fire and medical volunteers gave more than 18,000 hours of their time last year, a firefighter said.

"It's an opportunity to serve the citizens of your community," said former volunteer and current Mesa firefighter Chris Black. "I grew up in Mesa. It's important for me to kind of give back and volunteer my time for those who really need it. It makes me feel good when I'm able to go out there and help out people."

Black said the program is always on the lookout for those who are willing to help.

"The economy is definitely having an impact on us," said Volunteer Coordinator Warren Sprecher. "We've lost a lot of good volunteers -- people that have had to go back to school to get retrained, people that have to take second jobs. For me, there is no dollar value."

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