Kempner group beautifies fire department, raises funds
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Citizens of Kempner began a landscaping project and held a fundraiser lunch and raffle to benefit the Kempner Volunteer Fire Department Saturday.
The event started as an idea by Anelicia Cheney-Campbell to do some TLC on the landscaping at the fire station and turned into an all-day event featuring a dunk booth, raffle prizes and a lunch to raise money for the fire department.
“Citizens of Kempner is nonprofit advocacy group and aside from making sure there’s transparency in our local government and making sure that our elected officials are held accountable for their actions, we also want to better our community and bring it together,” Campbell said. “So, bettering the community is helping with the landscaping, and since we were out here, we figured might as well try and raise some money. “
The KVFD received a Ford F150 truck from Lampasas County, previously used by the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office. The 2014 truck will be used as a quick response vehicle for medical assist, according to KVFD Chief Dan Hause.
Currently, KVFD uses trucks that carry water as the vehicles for those response to medical assist calls.
“This is a quicker, lighter, easier to maintain vehicle,” Hause said.
The truck needs to be outfitted with stickers, lights, sirens and a driver box, which costs a total of $4,933 including the labor and installing of the items.
Hause said that price doesn’t include the cost of the medical equipment that will need to be on the truck.
KVFD is currently working on getting its first responder organization certificate. Right now, firefighters with KVFD can only perform CPR, Stop the Bleed and First Aid when they respond to a call, until an ambulance from Acadian or elsewhere shows up and directs them to do more, Hause said. Once the department obtains its First Responder Organization certificate, they will have protocols in place to begin administering patient care to a further degree when arriving on calls.
KVFD is an all-volunteer fire department, with less than 40 volunteers, that covers 108-square-miles. They receive an operational budget of more than $60,000 from Lampasas County, but Hause said about almost half of that goes to vehicle maintenance and that he’s gone through that amount already.
“They really help bring our community together and so when Citizens of Kempner wanted to help someone, it’s the fire department,” Campbell said. “They need all the help they can get.”
Campbell added that the group just wanted to give back to the community.
“With the advocacy part of our group, and what’s been going on in the city, it’s been really hard and really negative, and so it’s so nice to be able to do something positive,” she said.
The landscaping project included removing the pebble stones and laying down weed barrier and mulch around the trees in front of the building which houses the Justice of the Peace. Hill Country Solutions donated all of the weed barrier and mulch for the project, while Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops helped with the manual labor as did other members of the Citizens of Kempner. Campbell said she was pleased to see the number of people that showed up for the project. Campbell said the plan is to eventually get some decking, some benches and flower beds around the trees.
Hause said it meant a lot that the Citizens of Kempner started the project and held the fundraiser.
Every dollar that is raised saves Hause from having to dip into the operating budget and take money away from buying needed equipment, he said
Citizens of Kempner approached businesses in Copperas Cove, Lampasas and Kempner for donations for prizes for the raffle and received donations from private citizens as well.
Some of the raffle prizes included a grill set from Tractor Supply, a gift certificate to Refresh Spa and Salon, a black forest cake from the Brick Oven, an oil change at Corky’s Automotive and much more.
Tickets for the dunk booth were $5 for three balls and raffle tickets were one for $5, three for $10 and an arm length for $20. Lunch plates were $8 and consisted of a hamburger, hotdogs or bratwurst, pasta salad or potato salad, chips and a drink. Bake sale items were available for a donation. All proceeds from donations and raffle ticket sales and lunch plates went towards outfitting the truck.
Citizens of Kempner also sold t-shirts for $20, hats for $20 and koozies for $5 to raise money for their organization.
During the event, the majority of the firefighters had to leave to respond to a grass fire, but several citizens came out to support the cause, with some even choosing to volunteer to get dunked, including Delores Coberley, the general manger of Kempner Water Supply Corporation.
“Anything that the community can do to help us is greatly appreciated,” Hause said. This includes monetary donations as well as donations of items for the auction in May.
“Everything that’s dealing with a fire department is very expensive,” he added. The gear that firefighters wear can cost as much as $3,000 and has a 10-year shelf life.
“What COK is doing for us is greatly appreciated,” Hause said.
In addition to the funding they receive from the county, the KVFD holds an annual BBQ and auction in May and a Chili Drive Through in December as fundraisers. This Saturday, they will also be holding their “The Sign” fundraiser, where firefighters and volunteers stand on corners at Christensen’s Grocery on F.M. 2657, the Valero on F.M. 2657, S-Mart on Big Divide and Hwy. 190, the Shell gas station in Kempner and at the stoplight in Kempner, holding signs and boots to collect donations.