DURAND FIRE CHIEF Nick Spaniola showed off his department’s new thermal imaging camera on Wednesday, Oct. 23 to Durand Area Chicken Barbecue committee members. The Durand Fire Department received approximately $2,200 as the main beneficiary of the 2019 Durand Area Chicken Barbecue, and the department used the donation to purchase the much-needed camera, which is an important and often-utilized firefighting tool. The Durand Patriots, one of the event’s original organizers, took home the remaining proceeds, $250.
The chicken BBQ is sponsored and organized annually by Durand Eagles Aerie 3851, the Durand Rotary, the Durand Lions, Durand VFW Post 2272 and Durand AMVETS Post 2273, and the event is held on the Durand Eagles’ expansive property, south of the clubhouse. Since the first dinner was held in 2002, the Durand Patriots has used proceeds to mail packages to local area service men and women stationed overseas. Boxes are mailed monthly and include personal care items, snacks, holiday items, playing cards and more. Additional beneficiaries include Durand’s Veterans Memorial Park, the Durand Area Schools Backpack Program, Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, Durand Union Station and many others.
According to Chief Spaniola, the thermal imaging camera the department had been using quit working in 2018. The new handheld camera will enable firefighters to see through smoke and monitor a fire’s path so they can quickly visualize how to fight the fire, locate hot spots and, most importantly, find people who might be trapped.
This year’s chicken BBQ was held on Saturday, July 20 and more than 400 meals were served. In addition to the aforementioned event organizers, the team of volunteers also included Brad Thorsby, the owner of Riverside Market, who helped the Durand Lions members on the grill. Riverside also contributes by providing the event’s soda, meat, rolls and charcoal at a discounted price.
Shown at the Durand Fire Department on Wednesday is (from left) firefighter Matthew Schaefer; Kent Edwards, Lions; Leo Krupp, VFW; Dennis Martin, VFW; Chief Spaniola; Jeannette Gomos, Rotary; Nancy Folaron, Rotary; Ernie Johnson, AMVETS; Elizabeth Downer, Durand Patriots; Tim Shaw, Rotary; and Russ Amidon, AMVETS. Not Pictured was Eagles representative Jack Lovin.
Organizers stress that, without additional volunteers, the annual fundraiser may not take place in 2020.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)