Refreshing gift for firefighters

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A long, hot summer is just about over, but beating the heat is a year-round occupation for area fire departments.

Top Honors

TOP DONORS – Chico Middle School students Taryn Lunsford (left) and Derek Stephens were among the top donors of bottled water and Gatorade. Another top donor, Adrian Brecedo, is not pictured. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Area residents do what they can to help, and at least three communities have focused on collecting water and Gatorade for their firefighters recently.

In Greenwood, donations were collected at the Greenwood Grocery store through last Friday for the Greenwood-Slidell Volunteer Fire Department. The Hills Nursing and Rehab in Decatur is hosting a similar drive for water and Gatorade. Donations for the Decatur Fire Department can be dropped off at their facility, at 201 E. Thompson St., through Friday, Oct. 11.

SPLASH – In celebration of all the donations and Chico Middle School’s upcoming football game, students got to take the fun outside. A bucket brigade relay rushed to fill awaiting water containers in a pep rally game. Chico’s mascot was not helping as she spilled each team’s bucket during the relay. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Chico Middle School found a fun way to collect the needed items for three fire departments that serve their area. Cheerleaders organized a friendly competition among students to see who could bring the most bottles. For each bottle collected, that student received a ticket for a drawing.

At Thursday’s pep rally, 10 names were drawn for prizes.

Dozens of packages of bottled water and Gatorade filled the bed of a pickup. Some students brought donations by the hundreds. Overall, approximately 1,500 bottles were collected, according to the school.

Members of the Chico Volunteer Fire Department were on hand at Thursday’s pep rally to accept the donations and to have a little fun. Students wearing firefighter helmets participated in a friendly game of water bucket relay. And the pep rally concluded with one lucky student being able to turn on a fire hose to knock over boxes spelling out “Beat Aubrey” – the team the Dragons would be taking on that evening.

The donated drinks were divided between the Chico, Crafton and Sand Flat volunteer fire departments.

This is also the time of year many fire departments hold annual fundraisers to help them buy needed supplies. Here are a few coming up soon:


The Greenwood-Slidell Volunteer Fire Department will hold its fundraiser 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the fire hall in downtown Greenwood following the annual Greenwood Fall Festival. The event will include a fish fry, live auction, live music by Salt Creek and Phil Hamilton and a raffle.

Raffle items include a half-day quail and pheasant hunt at Nine Bar Ranch, a 16 GB iPad and a DPMS AR-15. For more information, visit


The Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department’s annual barbecue cook-off and all-night 4×4 ride is Saturday, Oct. 19, at Northwest OHV Park. Live music featuring Cody Wells, Cody Robbins, Fezzent and Phil Hamilton starts at noon. There will also be washer pitchin’ and horseshoes tournaments and a kids’ area.

Entry fee for the Lonestar Barbecue Society-sanctioned cook-off is $75. There is $3,000 in guaranteed prize money. For more information or to register, call Kyle Bloodworth at 940-372-0134 or Amber Fogelman at 940-683-3404. All proceeds benefit the Bridgeport VFD.

Several local fire departments have already had their fundraisers for the year, but no doubt any would appreciate donations, year-round.

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