Residents of Winfield and surrounding areas gathered at the Winfield Volunteer Fire Department station on Cobbham Road last Thursday evening for an annual meeting and social gathering.
Harold Ward, a Winfield Volunteer Fire Department firefighter, hands out drinks at the department's annual sunscriber meeting last Thursday.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
The event has become a community tradition; volunteers have grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for the department's subscribers each year since 1983.
"It is mainly to keep the people informed of what we are doing," said Carelock Thomas, a department volunteer.
After the cooks set out food on buffet tables, Gordon Sparks, volunteer and president of the Volunteer Fire Service Board, recognized other board members and firefighters present.
"These people are doing a thankless job," he said. "The important thing is the firefighters are the ones that do the job and put their lives on the line."
Sparks announced that papers had been signed and zoning formalities are being handled on a half-acre of land on Moontown Road, which will be home to the department's fourth station. The land was donated by Thomas.
The area's population is growing and the station is needed, said Chief John Black.
"Now all we need is the money for the building," he said. "We just have more fund-raising to get completed."
The meeting included a talk and Georgia Forestry Commission demonstration on the Fire Wise concept, which helps homeowners reduce the risks of wildfires, and a hands-on test run of the new electronic voting machines.
Sparks stressed that every family should have a fire escape route for their home in case of fire.
Coty Hughes, 7, eagerly tried the escape route in the Martinez Fire Department Fire House. Coty is son of the department's Rookie of the Year, Joel Hughes, who was given the award at the meeting.
Hughes lives between Harlem and Grovetown, works for the Burke County Fire Department and has volunteered his days off to the Winfield department for the past eight months. His wife swears firefighting is in his blood.
"If you like it, it does not matter," his wife, Chasity, said. "He enjoys it - that is all that matters."
Black also awarded Patrick Bargeron the Firefighter of the Year award and awarded Thomas the Community Service Award.
The 25-volunteer department covers the Winfield community and provides mutual aid to Leah, Appling and McDuffie County. The board and volunteers raises all money on which the department operates above the subscriptions payments.
The department offers a monthly breakfast and yard sale and an address marker sale, which is ongoing. Upcoming fundraisers include family portraits before Christmas and a community Halloween carnival complete with rides, games and candy.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.