Nokomis VFD to host tailgating fundraiser during Bama game

Published 9:34am Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A cool evening and football go hand in hand and volunteers with the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department are hoping to create a tailgate party to benefit the services they offer.

Board member and volunteer firefighter Jerry Gehman has been busy putting together a tailgating event to help raise needed operating funds for the department.

“We have no funding and it takes money to operate our department,” Gehman said. “We are in need of additional funding to help pay for diesel for our truck, upkeep on our vehicles and to make payments on our truck and building. We wanted to find a way to have an event that would offer the community a chance to have a good time and raise much needed funds for the department. This tailgate party is one way we can do that.”

A tailgate party will be held at the department’s headquarters on James Road surrounding the Alabama vs. Florida game this weekend.

“We will begin the party at 6 p.m. Saturday,” Gehman said. “A small $5 admission will be charged to allow folks to be a part of the tailgate party. The game will be shown on a 12 by 15 foot screen thanks to Wind Creek Casino. The casino has also contributed two wonderful packages that will be given away at halftime. The admission ticket will get each person in on that drawing.”

Gehman said the packages consist of an overnight stay at the hotel, dinner for two at the Fire restaurant and a spa treatment at Wind Creek Casino and Hotel.

“Wind Creek has been gracious in helping with this event,” Gehman said. “They are very interested in being involved in any Tribal member activity, even outside of the Tribe. We are thankful for their help in this fundraising event. The packages they have contributed are valued at about $460 each.”

Gehman said the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department has been fortunate, but economic times have hit the department hard.

“We have to pay for insurance, maintenance on our vehicles, gear and equipment for the firefighters and a multitude of other expenses,” Gehman said. “Just like everyone, we have experienced some difficulty in meeting those expenses.”

With very minimal funding throughout the year, Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department members are busy throughout the year with fundraising in a variety of ways.

“We have our Boston Butt sale each year that helps with some of our costs,” Gehman said. “Sales were off last year so we are always looking for new ways to raise money to help with our expenses. We only go door to door in the community once a year and generate a little money that way. The costs are high when you consider the cost of fuel for the trucks. To outfit a firefighter with turnout gear and necessary equipment, you’re looking at a lot of money. We had to make a $5,500 repair to our truck this past year and other expenses keep coming up.”

Gehman said the department does receive a small amount from tobacco taxes coming into the county.

“We are thankful for those tax dollars coming to us each month,” Gehman said. “The amount we receive changes from month to month, which makes it difficult to budget. Some months the amount is smaller than others and our expenses keep mounting. We have to make payments each month on our building and on our truck and we have to pay insurance each month. Those payments are there every month no matter what we receive.”

Gehman said the tailgate party is a way for individuals to help out and have a good time in the process.

“This is a family friendly event and is one that will allow a family to have a good time without breaking their wallets,” Gehman said. “We will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, Polish sausage dogs, French fries and cold drinks. Boiled peanuts will also be available throughout the game. With food from $1 to $3, the cost for the evening won’t be too tough on a family budget.”

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with the game kick-off at 7 p.m. Guests are invited to bring their lawn chairs for the evening. No alcohol will be permitted and no outside food or drinks will be allowed.

The Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department is located at 163 James Rd., just off U.S. 31 S. in Nokomis. For additional information or questions about the Department or the tailgating event, contact Gehman at 294-2724.

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