Fire company’s Guns and Cash is a successful bash
Anyone driving through New Tripoli Sept. 23 could see the Community Fire Company’s “Guns and Cash Bash” was wildly successful.
A packed parking lot teeming with cars, fire trucks, ambulances and folks gathered under a huge tent told the story.
“The whole reason this came about is because we want to redo our station and expand the square footage of [the current facility],” said Scott Koenig, special events committee chairman. “We do a lot smaller things [to raise money, but] we needed a way to meet the mortgage payments so we came up with Guns and Cash Bash.
“We’re still hoping to break ground next spring. The new building will cost $1.35 million.
“You don’t really get a heck of a lot for a million dollars.”
The need for more space is apparent.
“We have a brush truck that actually sits outside in the weather,” he said. “We want to be able to house that.”
“The brush truck is for [fighting] forest fires, stuff like that,” explained Jason Fusselman, vice chairman of the event. “It’s little compared to these big boys.”
The fire company also wants to house an ambulance on site.
“Right now, the ambulance is stationed down in the Lynn Township building,” he said. “Cetronia Ambulance Corps services Lynn and Weisenberg townships, and the Lynn truck could move here.”
Money for the new construction is coming from various sources.
“The township has earmarked $200,000 toward our project,” Koenig said.
“We got $100,000 from New Tripoli Bank, [and] we’re using $160,000 from the sale of our Lynnville station. We’re currently waiting to hear back from Sen. [Pat] Brown, R-16th, for $250,000.”
Enter the guns and cash bash.
“We’ve had nothing but positive responses,” said Bruce Dalrymple, president of the fire company before the event.
For safety sake he said “All the guns [had] locks and there [was] no ammunition for them.”
The outpouring of support for the event surprised almost everyone.
“I picked the tickets up from Smith Printing in Walnutport and within three days I had 2,000 tickets out,” Koenig said.
“It was just word of mouth,” Fusselman added.
“It started off kind of small, but it grew and kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” Koenig said. “Only 2,000 tickets were printed and the winner was chosen using a 2,000 numbered punch board.”
“We put a ticket together with 30 guns or cash value and the [winning] supporter could take either if he won,” Koenig explained. “There were 30 different winners.”
“We actually [gave] a gun safe away. It’s a very good gun safe, [housing] guns inside,” Koenig said. “The safe and guns were worth over $4,000 in total.”
“We exceeded all expectations at having this event,” Dalrymple said.
“We went out and looked for the four levels of sponsorship.”
“When we put up a sign up sheet, a hundred people signed up [to help] for the event, and not all firefighters but citizens from the area,” Koenig said. “We [had] 20 tables on Saturday and those [consisted] of guns, cash, and Pennsylvania lottery ticket, instant scratch off.
“There [were] some sporting type items as well, arranged on theme tables.
“For example, we [had] a goose hunting table [that included] a 12 gauge shotgun, six goose decoys and a pop up blind.”
“On the orange ticket, you could take the gun or the cash.
“Additionally, for the cost of the $10 admission, people could play or feast on barbecue, baked beans, ring bologna, cheese, beer and soda.”
Community support went a long way to making the event so successful.
“We’d like to thank the sponsors and the people who donated prizes for their support,” Dalrymple said. “It’s a tough job to do to begin with and to have to raise money to do the job makes it even tougher.
“The more help we can get, the more we can concentrate on teaching [firefighting skills] and maintaining the equipment.”
And firefighting is what it’s all about for these devoted volunteers.
Gavin Mengel is one of the younger men on the team willing to learn such skills.
He joined the fire company right after high school.
“I always wanted to give back,” said Mengel, who actually thought about joining the military. “My biggest fear growing up was my house catching on fire and now I could help others.”
Mengel went through the academy on Lehigh Street which, according to Koenig “teaches all the basics.
He got firefighter one [which is] a higher level of training that gives you the ability to go into houses” at the fire scene.
“It’s interior and exterior [training],” Second Assistant Fire Chief Nick Gruber explained.
“You could be [trained in] hazmat [meaning] you could be at an accident scene and take care of fluids and other conditions.”
Going forward, the Community Fire Company’s calendar is pretty packed.
Besides the much loved Halloween celebration for trick or treaters, Dalrymple said a hoagie sale is scheduled for October and a Thanksgiving filling and apple dumpling sale is scheduled for November.
“Signs will be posted for both events,” he said.
“The information for ordering will be on our Facebook page.”