HAMPTONVILLE — The July 17 fish fry the Amish community held to raise money for the Buck Shoals Volunteer Fire Department brought in almost $12,000 in donations.
Marty Roberts, president of the fire department’s board of directors, said donations are still coming in. “We won’t know the final amount until the next board meeting,” he said.
Around 1,250 plates were either served at the fire department at 6100 Windsor Road or prepared as takeout orders — all on a donation basis. “It was an awesome thing that they did,” Roberts said. “The Amish community is a great community, and we’re grateful to have them in our community.
“We look forward to working with them in the future.”
There were plenty of volunteers helping with the fundraiser, Roberts said, and the weather was good, which always boosts attendance. The fire department is going to offer to refund the cost of expenses back to the Amish community out of the total donated, he said.
“It’s hard to put into words how good the food was and their service,” Roberts said. “It’s really amazing how they work together as a team and community. It ought to teach us a lot about teamwork and working as a community.”
Dale Mast, owner of Mast Woodworks, said for an article announcing the fish fry that the fire department has responded to several fires and medical emergencies in the Amish community since members first began locating there 26 years ago. “And we just felt the need to do something in appreciation to show the fire department that we care what they do,” he said.
The Amish community held two fish fry fundraisers in the spring of 2013 to help raise money to rebuild a barn for John Hostetler, who owns Wholesome Country Creamery with his family, after an April 13, 2013, fire destroyed the former one. Hostetler said firefighters did a great job responding to the fire, managing to keep it from spreading to other buildings.
Buck Shoals Fire Chief Jeremy Millsaps called this month’s fundraiser an extreme act of appreciation. “Sometimes we get thank-you letters in the mail after we go out to a fire,” he said, “or people will call us. While we don’t get paid, we get paid by the ‘thank yous.’ They make us feel good.”
As for the money raised, Millsaps said the fire department plans to use it to purchase a thermal imaging camera, which allows firefighters to see areas of heat through smoke, darkness or heat-permeable barriers. The camera also can detect body heat and is normally used where people are trapped and rescuers cannot find them.
Millsaps said the rest of the donations will be used to purchase turnout gear and boots for the 35 firefighters along with other equipment as the need arises. The fundraiser was a community effort all the way around, he said.
Because of the large turnout, the fire department had arranged for people to park at nearby Shiloh Baptist Church and a field behind it. “I had plenty more spaces lined up,” Millsaps said, “but we only had to use two. I was really worried about parking, but it all worked out good.”
Union Baptist Church donated the use of its van to shuttle people to the fire department, Millsaps said, while Yadkinville Police Chief Tim Parks donated the use of his golf cart.
Millsaps, who has been a Buck Shoals firefighter for nine years, board member for seven or eight years and chief for one, said everyone he had talked to who attended the fundraiser really enjoyed it. “I think the people from the Amish community had a good time, too,” he said. “Everybody I’ve talked to wants to have another one soon.”
Fire department officials plan to get together with leaders of the Amish community and discuss having another fish fry. “I feel like it’s a good possibility that we might,” he said.
Kathy Chaffin can be reached at 336-258-4058.