"The majority of our budget comes from fundraising," said Thomas Polischak, President and Captain of Coaldale Volunteer Fire Company No. 1. "Despite being appreciated, only about 15 percent comes from the Borough."
The fire company, which serves the borough of Coaldale, as well as assists in emergency situations in Lansford, Summit Hill and Tamaqua, will be mailing out forms over the next few weeks to all Coaldale residents asking for donations in support of the fire company.
In 2012 alone, the company, which has about 25 active members and three fully-equipped pieces of fire apparatus, answered over 200 emergency calls in the area. These calls not only included fires, but also carbon monoxide calls, police and ambulance assistance, flooded basements, downed trees/power lines, search and rescue missions, motor vehicle accidents, fires and so on. Volunteers added that their average response time is about 3 to 4 minutes.
"It is especially hard at the beginning of the year," said treasurer Debbie Hatmaker.
"This past year, we had a major change at the fire house. We sold our Tower and purchased a newer used Tower from a fire company in Bellefont PA," said Polischak. "When we first brought the truck home, it was painted blue; but the truck itself was in really good condition. We decided to repaint the truck to match our KME engine orange and black (the borough's colors). So the members of our fire company took the time and worked on the truck for a few months to get the truck ready for paint and also fixing some minor issues. The truck was ready for paint and we were able to use Radocha's garage to paint it, which was a huge help to us. When it came time to paint the truck, our fire chief said he would paint the truck. Well, a week and a half later, he was finished painting it. We brought the truck back to the firehouse and put the truck back together within two days. This type of dedication shows how much our volunteer firefighters dedicate to our department on a regular basis."
In addition to the fire apparatus maintenance, funding will be used to cover insurances, heating oil, vehicle fuel, electrical, water, sewer, equipment upgrades and so on.
Polischak added that the fund drive is being organized via an outside company.
"To make ends meet, we hold many fundraising events throughout the year," said Polischak. "Some include spaghetti dinners, car washes, wrestling events, Chinese auctions, doughnut sales, fish frys and bake sales.
Volunteers added that, in addition to this fund drive, we are holding a few other fundraisers at our fire station, 121 West High St., over the next few months; to include Fish Fry's from 4 - 6 p.m. on Feb. 13, Feb. 15, March 1, 15 and 29. Their annual Chinese Auction is set for May 4 from 12 to 3 p.m.
"We are all volunteers, but we are also friends, neighbors and family," said Richard Marek, borough fire chief. "We give out time freely and generously to protect you and those you love."
To donate to the Coaldale Fire Company, follow the directions on the mailers. Polischak stressed for send back the donation forms, no matter if they donate. He added to cross off the name if they no longer live there.
"It is a shame that our volunteers have to spend so much time fundraising, rather than training," added Marek. "But without fundraising and support from the community, we couldn't be here."