Fire Company Trying to 'Take Up Slack' With Fund Drive
The Country Hills Volunteer Fire Company held a fundraiser during July 4.
With a bullseye in one corner, and a few firefighters standing by the side of the road as a steady stream of cars passed Monday, the Country Hills Volunteer Fire Company held its first fundraiser in about five years to raise money for equipment and training costs.
As people drove past on Milltown Road on their way to the Fourth of July festivities at North Branch Park, firefighters collected coins and dollar bills that will be used to offset costs for the company.
"This is a fund drive trying to get donations," said Steven Cornella, assistant chief of the company. "All the money goes to new member gear, and to ease the pain for taxpayers."
Cornella said the company, like all others in the township, receive a certain amount of money from Bridgewater each year, but it has not been enough to cover costs for new members recently.
"People don't realize how much gear and training costs," he said. "It can be $1,500 to $2,000 for gear [for one firefighter]."
The company used to do drives like this in past years, Cornella said, but stopped about five years ago and didn't continue because of new township regulations that require companies to have a permit before soliciting donations.
But now, Cornella said, the company has its permit, so it has decided to start up again.
At Monday's drive, firefighters Kevin Lehlbach and Patrick Doherty stood by the side of the road, collecting funds as people drove past. And in the corner of the lot, a bullseye was set up for people to toss coins in.
"It has been going good so far," said Fire Company Chief Brian Ricks. "Our annual money from the town has been the same over the years, but utility and fuel costs have been going up."
"We are just trying to offset costs," he added.
Cornella said the company does a membership drive, and has recently taken in about eight new volunteers, who now need equipment and training to work with the fire company.
In past years, Cornella said, they only held the drives around the 4-H Fair in August, but this the first year it was being done during the Fourth of July celebration, so they would see how it goes.
"We're in the hole now because of new members, and we don't have enough money for the gear," he said. "Hopefully we can take up some of the slack with this."