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Archive for Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Firefighters plan hog heavenly fund-raiser

Proceeds to benefit Palmyra Township volunteers

May 4, 2005

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Don't be concerned if you see smoke at the Vinland Fairgrounds Saturday.

Firefighters will be on the scene, smoking and serving upward of 600 pounds of pork at the Palmyra Township Fire Department's annual hog roast.

"The roast is a way to pay for some of our training," Palmyra Township Fire Chief Randy DeMersseman said. "Plus, this is a good way to get the community together and listen to what people have to say."

This is the fifth year for the hog roast, which supplements the Palmyra Township Fire Department's budget. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the Vinland Fairgrounds, and there's no set fee for the meal.

"We have found it's better to let people pay what they feel the meal is worth," DeMersseman said. "If you think it's worth $5, you pay that much."

Twenty volunteer firefighters using five fire trucks serve about 5,800 residents in the Palmyra Township.

The department is working with a $51,833 budget this year, said Debbie Sparkes, budget specialist for Douglas County.

Most of the fire department's annual budget, which comes from property tax payments, goes toward the upkeep and purchase of equipment. Training also is required for the volunteer firefighters.

The hog roast usually grosses about $3,500. About $1,000 to $1,500 goes to covering event expenses. But it may be more this year because the price of pork is up. The department has paid 70 to 80 cents per pound of pork.

"This year we're paying $1.10," DeMersseman said. "But we're looking for good quality at a decent price. We don't want to lose the quality."

When the event began, the volunteer firefighters purchased a hog from a local farmer and took the meat to a processing plant in Franklin County. But the farmer got out of the hog business.

"So, we just started buying pork butts, and we haven't had any complaints," DeMersseman said. The pork butt is a cut from the shoulder of a hog.

Once serving ends at 8 p.m., all food left over will be auctioned along with a couple of custom-painted fire helmets. DeMersseman said they also would take donations of other goods and auction them as well.

"A couple of years we had a whole dump truck full of road rock that we auctioned," he said. "We always try to come up with something new."

The Vinland Fairgrounds are southeast of Lawrence off County Road 460 behind Vinland Elementary School.

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