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A spicy event in Tamaqua

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Boilo and Chili winners are, front from left, Mike Gimbor and Vanessa Christman, who won the judge's choice for specialty boilo; Jared Soto, who won the judge's choice for traditional boilo; Stephanie McCarroll, who won…
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Boilo and Chili winners are, front from left, Mike Gimbor and Vanessa Christman, who won the judge's choice for specialty boilo; Jared Soto, who won the judge's choice for traditional boilo; Stephanie McCarroll, who won the people's choice for traditional boilo; and Priscilla Hosak, who won the people's choice for specialty boilo. In the back row is co-coordinator Tom McCarroll; Cy Rother, who won the people's choice for traditional chili; Donette Miller who won the judge's choice for traditional chili; Helen Walters, who won the judge's choice for specialty chili; Charles Connely who won the people's choice for specialty chili; and co-coordinator Brian Connely.
Published February 20. 2013 05:09PM

Two longtime rivals came together for a cause recently during the Chili and Boilo Cook-off held Saturday at the East End Fire Company in Tamaqua.

The cook-off consisted of dozens of contestants competing for the best traditional and specialty boilo and chili recipes, all to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Cook-off coordinators and longtime fire company members Tom McCarroll, with East End Fire Company, and Brian Connely, with American Hose Company, came up with the idea a few months ago while sitting down with friends on a Saturday afternoon.

McCarroll, a cancer survivor, said they both agreed, "Let's do it."

They added that the two fire companies have always been traditional and longtime rivals.

"Things have changed between the fire companies," said Connely, a 24-year member of the American Hose Company. "We choose to ignore old rivalries taught to us over generations.

"We are a new generation of firefighters," added McCarroll. "It simply makes sense to work together."

"We are growing out of traditional values of rivalry," said American Hose Company member Rick Bennett, who's mother-in-law, Leona Murphy, survived breast cancer and whose father was a lifelong member of the fire company.

McCarroll, who has been a member of the East End Fire Company since 1971, expressed his thanks to Tamaqua and surrounding communities. He said close to 70 door prizes were donated from local organizations and businesses for the event.

"These fire companies did an excellent job," said Ann Marie Calabrese, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society. "They are setting examples for other fire companies and organizations to follow."

McCarroll and Connely said they plan on having another event just like this one next year.

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