Many volunteers were responsible for bringing the Johns Creek Volunteer Fire Department Annual Spring fundraiser to a grand success.Pam Dudding Contributing writer
When one asked, why did the chicken cross the road, the Johns Creek Volunteer Fire Department (JCVFD) recently replied, “To join our spring chicken-dinner fundraiser.”
On April 24, the JCVFD, Craig County Station #1, hosted a chicken dinner as a major fundraiser. It aimed to help purchase the necessary hardware needed to put their Truck #15 into service. Doing so would meet the National Fire Protection Association’s guidelines.
The truck was purchased from an Arizona fire company last June.
At the dinner, one could donate a small $10 and receive a plump half of a smoked-grilled chicken, two sides, a roll, a choice of many desserts to go with a drink.
People started arriving before their 5 p.m. start time and continued until they sold out. (I was the first one in line this time, as they sold out last time before I was able to get there.)
Treasurer Dave Barrick of the JCVFD said, “We had an excellent turnout as we sold out of our 80 chicken dinners within 40 minutes of the start of this event. Come to find out, our poultry provider accidentally short-changed our order by 16 dinners even though we could have still sold more than 96 dinners we planned. We had to turn people away through the rest of the evening. But this only goes to show the great support we have in our community as they continue to fully support John’s Creek Fire Department.”
Barrick added that after the sell-out of their last two dinners, they are working on a way to predetermine the number of meals needed so they do not run out for future fundraisers.
The chicken was prepared by a host of firefighters who gave their time to ensure a tasty meal. This includes Johnny Beane, Gary Wade, JB Beane, Andrew Huffman, Jerry Russo, Daniel Torrence and Jessica Knight.
Many people not only purchased their dinners, but also gave contributions. “So far, we received about $4,000 in meals and donations that will go towards Truck #15,” Barrick said.
However, they have since discovered that the truck has a “major” problem of overheating, thus needing thousands of additional dollars of work.
Barrick explained, “As you know, buying used equipment can usually be a great value if you can find something in good condition. We have been slowly working with Truck #15 and noticed the Jake brake was not functioning properly, which is a major requirement for traveling our mountain roads.”
Also, while idling, it was noted a puddle of oil developed under the truck, which is never a good sign. “We took the truck to Western Branch Diesel for an estimate and found the engine had experienced a major overheat condition with the previous owner,” he said. “This was never disclosed to us by the seller and now we are looking at a major engine rebuild that will run over several thousands of dollars. It needs new heads, and the cylinders require a rebuild kit and an Engine Control Module with many other items that go along with a major rebuild.”
This is an expense they did not anticipate at all. However, they are moving forward with the repairs “since we have a lot of money invested in this truck to date.”
“This expense does place a burden on our operating budget, but we feel Truck #15 will bring a greater value to the community,” Barrick added. “So, we will get it fixed and fully functional as soon as possible.”
The JCVFD shared that they originally formed their unit to provide fire protection and suppression to the immediate community. “We work with county and federal governments to suppress man-made or natural fires which occur within Craig County or in adjacent localities,” they shared. “Our funding comes mainly from donations and fundraising events that is supported by our community.”
Last summer and fall, donations helped them purchase a 1989 Pierce Pumper/Tanker truck and with the construction of the new bay to house the large truck. Those exhausted all their funds.
Their fall spaghetti dinner exceeded their expectation with overwhelming participation with 102 meals sold. (However, they fell short of meeting their goal on the raffle.)
In addition, for truck #15 they are still in need of items like: required hose sizes and lengths, nozzles and tools, as well as new safety items that are required. “This could take many months and many thousands of dollars and up to a year, depending on available funding and the success of the fundraisers,” Barrick said.
They have signed up with Amazon, which provides a way where the fire department can receive a 0.5 percent donation for every eligible product by using the smile.amazon.com website. They hope this new option will bring in more donations.
Once on the website, search for the Johns Creek Volunteer Fire Department in New Castle, in the “Start by Picking Your Charity” field, or people may use this address which takes them directly to their donation https://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-1438046.
If anyone would like to mail a donation, the address is the Johns Creek VFD, 116 Dicks Creek Road, New Castle, Virginia 24127. Johnny Beane is President and Jonathan Huffman is Chief. Contact them at: [email protected] for any questions.
“We truly appreciate all the financial support you provide us in an effort to ensure our community is protected to the best of our ability,” the team shared. “Every contribution is utilized to ensure our organization is ready to support you in case of an emergency.”
They added, “We just want to say thank you to all of those who contributed and supported this event. This includes the firefighter, their spouses and partners who helped cook side dishes and serve our hunger supporters.”