Submitted by Grant Churchill (Assistant Fire Chief, South Pigeon Lake Fire Department) and Darrel Bohlender
Community, businesses and local clubs help join in to raise money for a new Jaws of Life for the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department. In just 46 days, $30,500 was raised! Now that says community involvement!
When asked by a local resident how the fund raising got started, Darrel Bohlender replied: Like most good ideas, this one originated around a fire pit with a group of friends from the Crystal Key Drive area. Our thoughts were that we wanted to contribute back to the community and at the same time get to meet a few more of our neighbours.
One of our passions on our block is cooking and entertaining so we decided to host a “Taste of Summer” where we would showcase our best of the best sample size dishes. Our hopes were to hold a community gathering where everyone was welcome and had a chance to meet their neighbours.
There would be no charge to our guests to attend this event; our only request was that they give a donation to the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department. The department was in need of funds to help equip a new rescue truck with a new Jaws of Life and upgrade their hydraulic rescue tools.
At times, we as a community, take our local fire department and rescue services for granted but in a time of need they are always there for us, thus this was our way of giving back.
What was once an idea, soon turned into reality as we held our first “Taste of Summer” on Sunday Aug 31, 2014 on Darrel & Bev Bohlender’s front lawn.
We had ten families that committed to supplying the tents, the food, and serving it. Six of the families were from the Crystal Key Drive area and the other four families were from Crystal Springs, Grandview Meadows & Poplar Bay.
These families graciously agreed to buy, cook and serve the food, this way all of the profits would go directly to the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department.
It turned out to be a great event where we all pitched in as neighbours and friends. On the day before, we set up all the tents and readied for the next day. We were blessed with good weather and a good crowd of roughly 265 guests who attended the event.
Grant Churchill and Ken Carlson, from the South Lake Fire Department were on hand to man the donation table and greet the guests as they arrived. We also had a rescue truck and an old fire truck which were parked on the front yard.
As an added bonus, we had Roy Muller of Shadowhawk Inc., demonstrating the new Jaws of Life along with the various pieces of equipment that were needed to run it.
The food served was incredible. We had so many great dishes; seafood chowder soup, corn chowder soup, lobster bruschetta, a summer salad, smoked ribs, Greek ribs, chicken wings, garlic Caesar salad, garlic shooters, garlic mushroom caps, beef sliders, chili, bacon wrapped smokies and devilled eggs, chicken wings, mini banana splits for the kids, and barbecued peaches with ice cream and a Grand Marnier topping, for the adults. We even had “Minute to Win it Games” for the kids that were arranged and manned by the kids on our block. Our local kids also had a tent where they offered ice cold drinks.
The function turned out to be a real good old fashioned community get together and fun was had by all.
When we first thought about doing this event we talked to Grant Churchill, the assistant fire chief of the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department, he told us that they were looking to rig up a new rescue truck with a Jaws of Life. When we asked Grant why they needed a new one, he told us that their old one was becoming obsolete and was no longer able to cut the steel posts in some of the newer model vehicles because of the advancements in the structural integrity of these vehicles.
Once Grant told us what they needed the money for, things began to move forward. We knew we wanted to donate locally and thought everyone could relate to the need for a new Jaws of Life.
All of us have travelled on Highway 13, either travelling to Pigeon Lake or leaving from the lake area and you just never know when either you or one of your family members or friends might just need this life saving device.
All of us involved in this get together were proud of how we had created such a great community event. Not only did we have a great time, but in three short hours we raised $16,500 to be put towards the purchase of a new Jaws of Life.
We had raised roughly 55% of what was needed to buy a new Jaws of Life along with the needed equipment to help run it. Our local fire department was thrilled with the amount of money that we had raised, but it didn’t end there.
Grant Churchill set off on a mission to raise the remaining money needed for the purchase of the new Jaws of Life.
His first stop was the Lions Club of Pigeon Lake where they graciously donated $5,000. He then approached the Ma-Me-o Beach Legion and they too agreed to donate an additional $5,000. Add in the $4,000 that the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department had already raised and they now had the $30,500 needed for their purchase of a new Jaws of Life and the cost to refurbish their hydraulic system to run it.
It just makes you feel so good when you come together as a community and can have some good old fashioned fun and at the same time raise some money for much needed equipment. Having the Lions and the Legion kick in that extra money, just makes you realize what a great community we have out here.
Grant Churchill added that on Oct 25, 2014, the new equipment and upgrading of the old equipment was done and the new Jaws of Life is now in service. A full 3 years ahead of what was planned!
On behalf of the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department, the firefighters are grateful for the community support and the time invested by so many generous individuals, companies and local clubs. We are proud to say we are now able to serve our community with state of the art rescue equipment. Thanks to all!
Pictured: ‘Taste of Summer’ gathered the community together. Photo submitted