Kempner VFD holds annual auction
By PAMELA GRANT
Every year in March, the Kempner Volunteer Fire Department holds its annual barbecue and auction event with proceeds going towards purchasing new firefighting equipment for the department.
This year, funds raised during Saturday’s event will go towards purchasing a military surplus 5-ton, 6x6 truck to replace the department’s 32-year-old brush truck. The fire department plans to convert the truck themselves. They plan to add features to the truck including a water tank, pump and plumbing, a forward platform and seat for frontal firefighting, storage capability, and communications equipment.
Purchasing the military truck and converting it will save them money compared to buying a brush truck, said Fire Chief Dan Hause. He added that the military vehicle is made of sturdier metal than the fiberglass a regular brush truck is made from. The military vehicle also has 6-wheel drive compared to 4-wheel drive. The new vehicle will be a lot more dependable as well as more durable. Hause added that they build many of their trucks to help keep their costs down.
“We’ve had tremendous support…I always want to have as many people in the community involved as I can. We get our volunteers from the community. Our job isn’t just to fight fires and do firefighting things. We want to bring in the community. People have fun here,” said Hause. “I’d like to thank the community and fire members for their support. If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t happen.”
Todd Burkett, Lieutenant Firefighter, and Willie McGuffey, Assistant Fire Chief, helped serve barbecue and other food during the event. The two have helped out at the event for years.
“It feels great to have the community backing us,” said Burkett. “It makes us feel good that we’re here for them, and they’re here for us.”
The event was possible thanks to the community and many volunteers. Rex Hooten and Jack Widup volunteered to auctioneer the event.
Members of the community, like the Boy Scouts, helped set up for the event. Items on sale for the auction were donated from members of the community, many of which came out to attend the event.
During the auction, some items, such as a red velvet cake, were sold purely to donate and show support for the firefighters.
The red velvet cake was resold seven times, earning a whopping total of $760. The final winner then donated the cake to the firefighters.
Leona-Mae DeGraw, a Kempner resident, was one of many to bid on the cake and then have the auctioneer resell it.
“This is like the social event of Kempner. If you’re anybody, you come here to support the barbecue and the auction…This is a great community event,” said DeGraw. “We come out here to support the Fire Department because if we have a fire, they’re the ones to take care of it. They are all volunteers, and this is how they raise their money.”