“They were coming in groups of four or five at first,” said Albion Fire Chief Harry Papponetti, giving his rundown of a beef on weck fundraiser held yesterday afternoon. “Grants aren’t that easy to get, and they’re only getting harder to get. So, fundraisers like this do really help.”
Fundraising itself has been difficult this year beneath state guidelines, though, said Papponetti, “We had to cancel the boot drive because it would be interacting with the public so much. Then, you know, no one wears a facemask while driving. So, we decided to cancel that.” In addition, the summer concert series in Albion was cancelled this year. An eight-part series that the Albion Fire Department sells fundraising food from throughout any normal summer.
According to Papponetti, all the day’s funding will go towards paying for and maintaining the department’s new off-road vehicle, purchasing more EMS supplies, and acquiring any other pricey incidentals. Being a firefighter isn’t cheap, the Chief explained, stating, “Right now, fire gear runs about $2,000. Then, with boots, helmets, paging equipment and other items, you’re looking at $4,000 to $5,000 per person.
As to future plans for supporting the department’s financial needs, Papponetti said, “We’re going to go for a big grant, with a lot of other departments also applying, to replace a lot of our air filtering units.”