Owls Head community visits and dines, while raising funds for fire department
Owls Head Fire Department is holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, Jan. 21, to help offset the costs of keeping the town, and its firefighters, safe. The goals are straightforward: raise money to acquire fundamental equipment like a thermal imaging camera, and turnout gear for the firefighters. But the dinners are much more than that, and have become a popular opportunity to catch up with neighbors and visit with friends.
‘The dinners serve as a great socialization opportunity, too,” said Owls Head Asst. Fire Chief John Gamage. “Friends see each other, dine and talk the hours away.”
According to Gamage, attendees of some of the meals start gathering in the parking lot at 4:30 p.m., half an hour before doors officially open. For this reason, organizers try to be ready early as well, for those who normally eat around that time.
And, for the upcoming dinner, Saturday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Owls Head Community Building, a new feature will debut.
“This time around, after realizing some folks can't get out easily, or have schedule conflicts, we're offering take home meals,” he said.
After dinner expenses are met, all remaining supper profits are directed toward purchasing new equipment. At this time, money continues to be directed toward the funding of a new thermal imaging camera. If extra money is generated, that money will go toward other items on the wish list.
“For example, we need to replace our turnout gear,” said Gamage. “This is not cheap. Each set [protective pants and jacket, etc.] can easily push $2,000. And of course, we're not all the same size, so it has to be fitted for flexibility and performance. But this is only part of the protective equipment. One also needs helmets, gloves, boots, flashlights, air packs, and so on.”
Owls Head directs funds to the department through the municipal budget process, but firefighters don’t want to load too much on the taxpayers.
“Our taxpayers can only bear so much burden,” he said.
And keep in mind the firefighters are also taxpayers.
“As older members move on to new chapters in their lives, new members aren't coming forward as fast as those leaving,” he said. “Nationally, the loss is in the thousands. Volunteer fire departments all over the country can use volunteers for any number of jobs. Ours is no exception. We encourage folks to consider giving some of their time to volunteer. If our town isn't home to the volunteer, I'm sure their home town fire department would be glad to hear from them, as well.”
Sarah Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org