Annual fund drive underway for Summit Hill fire company
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Discussing the 2013 fund raising campaign of the Diligence Fire Company, Summit Hill, are, from left, Ed Nunemacher, president; Len Ogozalek, assistant chief, and Shawn Hoben, fire chief. Last year, only about 40 percent of the town's residents contributed. Fire company officials are appealing to residents for a better response, citing the need to replace apparatus and equipment.
Paul Yuricheck, financial secretary of the Diligence Fire Company in Summit Hill, is hoping the borough's residents are a little more responsive this year to the fire company's annual fund drive.
The plea for funds was mailed last week to residents and businesses in the borough.
Yuricheck said last year, only about 40 percent of the town's residents responded.
"It's expensive to operate the fire company," Yuricheck said.
Fire Chief Shawn Hoben agreed, noting the fire company's rescue tools, such as the Jaws of Life and Rams, are all getting old and should soon be replaced.
"They're over 25 years old and it will cost about $40,000 to replace them," he said.
The tools are especially vital in extricating victims in a safe and quick manner from motor vehicle accidents. They also are utilized at fire scenes and on other emergency calls.
Hoben said the Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization donated $40,000 toward air packs, but this covers about a third of the cost for them.
"We still have to foot about two-thirds of the cost of the project," he said.
One of the firetrucks is 26 years old and soon should be replaced, Hoben explained.
"It doesn't even meet the standards of today's tankers," he said. "It meets the standards of an engine."
Replacing it will cost $250,000 to $300,000.
Despite the age of some of the equipment, Hoben said all of it remains up to specifications.
"It's up to date because of those who do contribute," he said.
Larry Black, former fire company president, said the borough gives the fire department a half of a mill which it collects from taxes. This amounts to about $2,000.
"That $2,000 would pay for one set of turnout gear," he said. Turnout gear is the coat, boots, gloves, and related equipment that a firefighter wears when responding to a call.
Yuricheck said 1,400 appeal letters were mailed.
Fire Company President Ed Nunemacher said volunteers are also needed.
Anyone interested in joining the fire company should contact any member.
He said although active firefighters are always needed, individuals can volunteer in other capacities such as administrative and fund raising.