Speak to any Fire Department Chief and their staff, and they will share with you the difficulties they have in keeping their equipment and trucks in superior condition due to a lack of funds.
Often times, they have to rely on grants and citizens within their communities to help support them.
On Thursday, July 4, the Paint Bank Fire Department held their Annual Independence Day Celebration.
Though the weather was hot and muggy, laughter and good humor filled the atmosphere.
People brought their own chairs to stay for the entire day. “We come every year,” said one couple as they were relaxing under the shade trees. “It’s a great day to honor our country while supporting those who take care of us when we need them most.”
There were raffles for a rifle, quilt and a weekend retreat at the cabin in Paint Bank as well as a silent auction with many baskets filled with toys and other items for children to enjoy.
Everyone was ready when the dinner bell rang for them to start serving lunch.
The crowd participated in the National Anthem when it was sung. After that, the blessing of the food was said. Approximately 300 people showed up.
“I think they came out of the woods,” one lady serving said laughing as she dipped another helping of homemade corn pudding onto a plate.
People had their choices of chicken or ham, various salads, corn pudding, green beans, mashed potatoes, baked beans, deviled eggs, fruits and a smorgasbord of delicious desserts.
The meal was only $10, and the line stretched all the way to the road. Many sat under the shade until the line dwindled to get their food.
The Paint Bank Fire Department is raising funds for a much-needed new ambulance. “Once we meet our portions goal, which is $44,000, we will apply for an 80 percent grant to help cover this,” Hale said. “However, when you talk $400,000 for a new fire truck and $220,000 for an ambulance, it gets expensive quick.”
After they get their ambulance, they will start working towards raising funds to replace their 1976 pumper.
Hale also noted that the funds they get from the state and county help cover the smaller priced items they need. “The county has received grants to help with things like air packs and radios which really makes a difference,” he said.
It took volunteers from the Fire Department, auxiliary and the community to make the event happen. While many were enjoying their meals, several others were in the background washing the serving trays as fast as they could.
Before the event concluded, a live auction was held, bringing out hundreds of items. “I don’t know how they got all that stuff in that little trailer,” said one gentleman before adding, “but I’m enjoying getting a few things for myself.”
“We want to thank everyone that helped us have such a successful day,” Fire Department member Rick Hale said “It’s truly a team effort to make this dinner happen. All of the proceeds will go to the Paint Bank Fire Department.” BAS