Tracy Tate and Steven Gielen, both 21 and students in the international food business program at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, are hosting a spaghetti dinner next month as a fundraiser for a wet suit kit for the brigade.
“One of our school projects is to raise money for a charity, but we wanted to help out the fire brigade because we feel they’re often under funded and valued,” said Tate, originally from Antigonish. “We thought we’d do something for them.”
The students have been working with fire chief Dwane Mellish for the event, to be held at the Bible Hill Village Hall on Feb. 8.
“Of course, being in school is a natural learning experience, but we wanted to expand that. We’re trying to sell 200 tickets,” added Gielen, an international exchange student from the Netherlands.
The idea, said Mellish, is to make money to help fund two wet suit kits the brigade is looking to purchase in the near future, so the students have approached local businesses for donations for the dinner.
As students here when flooding displaced many residents and businesses in September, they saw first-hand how the flooding affected the residents.
“Our basement filled with water,” said Gielen. “I live on Avon Street, which is quite close to the (Salmon) river. The woman told us we were living in a flooding zone, but I was skeptical. Then two weeks later, it flooded.”
Having a working relationship with the campus, Mellish said the brigade is always eager to help when they can, even by overseeing a bonfire during orientation week.
“We do some outreach in the community and we’re always looking to the campus as a source of volunteers, because we are a full volunteer department,” the chief, who has been a member since 1980 said.
“When they approached us with this idea, we were quite pleased.”
He said firefighters, of which there are 30 active members, haven’t used wet suits at the department yet, but that will change.
“With the wide-spread flooding and the frequency, it is something we’re looking into getting, as well as a small floatation device,” he said, adding the brigade has gathered quotes for the village commission.
With the flooding this past fall, Mellish said the Bible Hill brigade relied on mutual aid from the Special Hazard Unit and Truro Fire Service, both of which are equipped with wet suits and a floatation device.
“As a volunteer brigade, we are always community-based and we rely on the support of others,” he said, adding the brigade also provides mutual aid throughout the central part of the county.
“This event will not only benefit us, but benefit them too. We will have the opportunity to get something out of it, and it gives an opportunity for them to develop their skills.”
While the objective of the spaghetti dinner is to raise enough money for one wet suit kit (before taxes they retail around $1,600, according to Mellish), the brigade is aiming to have funds together to purchase a second.
The kit would come with a wet suit for inside and out, as well as a helmet, gloves, personal floatation devices for those they’re rescuing, among others.
“With the extent of the flooding, there weren’t enough resources. When it came to residents on Farnham Road first thing in the morning (on Sept. 11), some of our members were able to get wet suits from other people, such as Special Hazard. But we couldn’t get to Avon Street because the subway had flooded, so we relied on Special Hazard and Truro Fire. There were about 50 people that had to be fished out because of that flooding,” Mellish said.
Tickets for the spaghetti dinner are available at the Village Hall in person or by calling 893-8083, through some Bible Hill Fire Brigade members and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $10 each.
There will be two sittings for the dinner – one at 5 p.m. and one at 7.
IF YOU GO:
What: Spaghetti dinner
Who: Hosted by Steven Gielen and Tracy Tate, students in the international food business program at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, with the support of the Bible Hill Fire Brigade
When: Feb. 8; two sittings – 5 and 7 p.m.
Where: Bible Hill Village Hall
Why: The students have chosen the fire brigade as their charity of choice; the brigade is looking to purchase two wet suit kits, which the money would go toward
Tickets: $10 each and are available at the village hall, through some fire brigade members or by emailing email@example.com