Volunteer Fire Department trying to make ends meet

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

One Pike County fire department is holding a fundraiser this weekend to help the station stay up and running.

It was a rainy Saturday morning in Pike County. But once the skies cleared up, Anthony Varney and dozens of other classic car owners drove to Grant's Branch Park for the Upper Pond Creek Volunteer Fire Department's car show.

"I called over here and heard they were still having the show. I decided my car drags me out, whether I wanna come or not," said Varney, who owns a 1968 Roadrunner.

Organizers love cars, but the real reason for the show is to help raise money for the struggling department.

"We've got to have it to survive. Because it's a volunteer organization, we gotta do what we gotta do to make ends meet," said Paul Lowe, a member of the Upper Pond Creek VFD.

Lowe says that in recent years, the volunteers have decreased and donations have dwindled. This is making it harder to stay at full operation.

Upper Pond Creek is one of 24 volunteer fire departments in the county, and many are facing the same issues.

Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett says it is crucial for volunteer fire departments to function in these small rural communities. He says fire stations reduce insurance rates for homes, and most importantly, cut down on emergency response times.

"The quicker someone can get to you in an emergency, the better the outcome will be," Tackett said.

Paul Curry's 1940 Ford Deluxe took home the grand prize at the car show, but officials say the volunteer fire department and the community it serves are the real winners.

The department is also hosting a fishing tournament at Grant's Branch Park on Saturday night.

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