Ice cream socials about more than fun

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wark compares the Devola Fire Company's newest tanker pumper to older firetrucks in the station Thursday.

Ice cream socials, pancake breakfasts, car shows and dunk tanks have already kicked off in the name of fundraising this season for local volunteer fire departments.

“It’s a big community gathering, we set up (Friday) night, and we’ll have a band playing Saturday,” said Ronnie Warren, fire chief for the Little Muskingum department. “And we don’t have any tax levies on and aren’t owned by the township, so we’re self-funded for our equipment with grants.”

Little Muskingum’s social will take place on Saturday, with a goal of raising $9,000 to $10,000.

“We need new turnout gear right now, ours is 12 to 15 years old, and their life expectancy is only about 10 years,” said Warren. “And we’re saving too for a pumper–ours is a 1990 model bought for $90,000, but a new one is a $300,000 truck.”

Devola’s volunteer department recently purchased a new pumper tanker for $350,000, utilizing both levy funds and donations like those raised at socials.

“We did not have to go to the taxpayers because we got our last truck paid off before going for this one, which I’m very proud of,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wark.

Devola is moving its social back to October. It was formerly held in August.

“We decided to try and go later in the year, still have a social-fest, but a lot of elderly come to those socials and mid-August just gets so hot,” explained Wark.

Meanwhile, Wesley Township will hold its volunteer fire department’s social this Saturday, beginning at noon at the station, 2060 State Route 550.

On June 22, Dunham VFD will hold its social at 4 p.m. at 5770 Veto Road, Belpre, and then July will see a slew of pancake breakfasts (Beverly, July 4) hot dogs and hay rides (Lowell-Adams, July 20) and, of course, ice cream and country stores.

“They’re like a homecoming, people sometimes only get to catch up at these once a year,” said Reno Fire Chief Dan Ritchey. “And with our trucks out people can see where their money–ice cream or levy–goes to. A new cot is about $47,000, and you can’t predict when another piece of equipment might break. This helps with those unforeseen expenses.”

Lowell-Adams Fire Chief Josh Harris said his eyes are on changing out hoses and checking breathing apparatus and pumps.

“Those cost $10,000 to $15,000 by the time we get everything checked to standards, and that comes out of our social,” he explained. “But the biggest thing right now is a mandate to replace all hoses made before 1987. That we’re still working on pricing.”

Ritchey also encouraged the community to make it out to more than just their township’s social, noting that fire aid often comes in from surrounding volunteer departments.

On Saturday, Wesley Township’s Fireman’s Festival will begin at noon at 2060 State Route 550, Bartlett, and Little Muskingum’s social will start at 4 p.m at Lawrence Elementary School.

Volunteer fire station fundraisers:

• Saturday:

• Little Muskingum, 4 p.m.

• Wesley Township, noon.

• July 4: Beverly.

• July 20: Lowell-Adams.

• July 27: Reno.

• August: Barlow and Oak Grove.

• September: Newport.

• October: Devola.

• Grandview, Fearing and Salem have already held their socials, Belpre holds bingo nights throughout the year.

Source: Times research.