Firefighters to discontinue steak fry fund-raiser

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The Sweet Home Volunteer Firefighters Association has decided to cancel its annual steak cookout this year.

Instead, firefighters will hold different fund-raising events to pay for Sportsman’s Holiday fireworks.

“Last year, we cleared between $500 and $600 on the whole event,” association President Jared Richey said. “The cost of the meat and everything to do with it, the band – it’s gotten to the point we’d have to raise the price of the tickets that it’s not economical for what goes into it.”

The cost of the annual fireworks display is up to $7,500 “for the show we’re putting on right now,” Richey said. “We are about $1,700 short of paying for the fireworks this year.

“Last year, the large part of the fireworks was provided by private donations by the community.”

A large part of the funds already available for this year has rolled over from last year’s donations, Richey said. “The community really stepped up and helped out.”

The firefighters also raised $2,000 during the Oregon Jamboree by putting on a pancake feed. That event has been growing, drawing funds from campers and visitors.

Right now, the association is considering other ideas for raising money, Richey said. Among them is a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament.

“Years ago, we used to have the skeet shoot,” he said. “That’s been talked about. It made a lot of money.”

The association has been talking about “everything down to selling hamburgers at Sunnyside in the summer,” Richey said. “We have no scheduled events yet, but we are working on doing something.”

Years ago, when the firefighters began putting on the show, it received large donations from Willamette Industries and other large companies, Richey said. “It made a decent amount of money.”

Times have changed, he said. Those sources have dried up, and fewer have been attending the steak cookout. People are interested in other things, he said.

The firefighters also have been talking about coming up with other activities for Sportsman’s Holiday, he said.

Richey said he wanted to thank the community for supporting the fireworks, and just as important, he wanted to thank the community for stepping up and supporting the fire department in general the past couple of years, including purchasing new fire engines.

“The community around here has always helped the fire department,” Richey said.

Anyone interested in donating or helping out should contact the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District at 367-5882.