The Paint Bank Volunteer Fire Department has enjoyed the Independence Day celebration for over 30 years and this year was no different, as volunteers, community members and the ladies auxiliary all pitched in to make it another success.
On Tuesday, July 4, about 300 people or more drove into the field at the fire department, ready to enjoy a chicken and ham dinner, as well as much fellowship.
Though it did not start until noon, many had their “spots” already set up by 11 a.m. The shade trees were the favorite sitting places.
Happy chatter was heard throughout the day, with much laughter in between.
Raffles were available for a two night get-a-way stay at the Fox Hill Cabin in Paint and for a Ruger American Predator Rifle. Cindy Carter, of White Sulphur Springs, won the two-night stay and Dewey Taylor won the gun.
They bought the gun; however, the Buffalo Farm donated the overnight stay.
The volunteers were busy preparing the meals, arranging the set up and at noon the call was made to come eat.
However, at 11:30 a.m., people had already started standing in line.
The National Anthem was played, and a prayer given over the food and the people, and then the line started moving as ladies happily dished out whatever the person requested onto their plates.
The meat choices were chicken or ham and there was an abundant choice of sides and desserts. A drink was included with the $10 meal. All the sides were homemade and the desserts as well.
The tables that were set up were quickly filled, while others went upstairs to the air-conditioned area. Still, many families went to their personal areas they had set up to eat at.
After everyone was filled, the auctioneers started setting up the auction items.
Community members as well as many businesses had donated items to help the VFD raise funds.
The auctioneers, Darrell Fisher, Alvin Hodge and Wanda Looney, all donated their time and equipment for the day’s event. Justin Dudding also helped, as well as quite a few kids near the end, to speed up the auction, as they had so many items donated. Ann Fisher recorded all the bidders in, and a card was given to each and the Ladies auxiliary set up the pay station.
The volunteers stated that they were happy to volunteer their time and help with the annual fundraiser.
“It was good food, a great time and a great cause!” Fisher said. “The PBVFD depends on this fundraiser every July 4 to help with their expenses. They can always use extra hands preparing the food and getting donations for the auction (if anyone wishes to help for next year).”
During the auction, Looney had the kids smile, make faces, etc. encouraging the bidders to go a little higher for the kids’ sake. It worked as her bids continued to go higher.
Roger Clarkson has been with the fire department since about 1969.
This year he picked up 300 pieces of chicken and four hams at Food Country in New Castle. This was their first year in buying from Food Country.
“The VFD buys the meats and drinks and rolls and our community members and auxiliary and members bring the sides and desserts,” Sue Kreisa shared. “We had about 250-300 people to buy dinners this year, I believe.
Years ago, they used to have between 300-400 people.
Kreisa is a longtime member of the ladies auxiliary and was one of the women who took the money for the meals.
She was asked if she even got to eat and she replied, “Oh, those ladies know what I like and at the end they fix me a plate. They know I like anything chocolate!”
She added with a giggle and a smile, “I am a chocoholic!”
They also auctioned any leftover cakes and pies, which brought in some good funds. Any leftover meats or sides were also sold individually.
Kreisa noted that they received some good donations this year including small appliances and that there were a few ladies that did exceptionally well in getting them, organizing the event and in cleaning.
“We had some ladies that spent a lot of time in Covington getting donations!” she added.
The PBVFD shared that they were very thankful to all the businesses, community members and VFD members for their generous donations.
“That is what made it successful!” Clarkson exclaimed. “I think the auction turned out good and I think we made about $4000 on it.”
He added, “However, last year we set a record of most ever made. I don’t think we beat that record, but we had a good crowd this year.”
“It’s our tradition to do the Independence Day fundraiser,” Clarkson said. “We are better off now than 10 years ago.”
“We really appreciate the general public for supporting us and all the volunteers for doing the work as it takes a lot,” he said. “The auctioneers did an excellent job and had great equipment.”
He added that the October apple butter making is their other large fundraiser.
“It’s the first weekend in October,” Clarkson said. “The first morning we peel, cut up and the next morning, the men start the fire, and we cook the apples until about 3 or 4pm during which time we are continually stirring it. It is a three-day event, and we invite everyone to purchase some.”