2009-07-30 / Local & State

Firefighters' Dream Weekend Successful

Plans under way for second annual event
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

MVFC Sgt. Greg Connelly helps Alex Mercado of Chambersburg work his way through the egg lift station as part of the "Dream Weekend" at the firehall. MVFC Sgt. Greg Connelly helps Alex Mercado of Chambersburg work his way through the egg lift station as part of the "Dream Weekend" at the firehall. McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Company's big plans to garner interest from area youth in the company and its daily practices went off without a hitch this weekend with the first-ever "Dream Weekend."

McConnellsburg's Dream Weekend was created and modeled after events held over the years by the Marion Fire Company and surrounding companies. With educational sessions, fun and games and hands-on training, the event allowed a total of 16 youths the opportunity to witness first-hand what volunteer firefighters do on a daily basis. Just as important, however, the Dream Weekend gave local kids a safe place off the streets to socialize and learn while also presenting them with possible career options in a funfilled environment.

Chip Keebaugh, local firefighter and an integral member of the event's organizing committee, reported to the "News" the Dream Weekend was a "huge success" in terms of both the number of participants and volunteer instructors and the interest it peaked in the fire company.

Dream Weekend participants ages 12 to 16 pose with staff from Stat Medevac Saturday in the Central Fulton School District parking lot. In addition to the presentation from Stat Medevac, cadets also learned about search and rescue, CPR and duties associated with the fire marshal's office. Dream Weekend participants ages 12 to 16 pose with staff from Stat Medevac Saturday in the Central Fulton School District parking lot. In addition to the presentation from Stat Medevac, cadets also learned about search and rescue, CPR and duties associated with the fire marshal's office. Keebaugh stated of the 16 participants between the ages of 12 and 16, all but three hailed from the McConnellsburg area. Of those numbers, six individuals requested applications for membership in the junior fire company. An additional three were interested in signing up for the Sparky program, which is open to children under the age of 14. Even though Sparky par- ticipants obviously aren't eligible to go on calls, they can, according to Keebaugh, help out around the firehall in various duties.

The event kicked off Friday evening at the firehall with opening remarks from Keebaugh and McConnellsburg Fire Chief Pete Lynch. Over a period of two days the event included presentations by Stat Medevac, Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall M.B. Gordon and demonstrations of search and rescue techniques and gear and basic friends and family CPR. The children were also treated to equipment and facilities tours and a special trip to Cluggy's Family Amusement Center in Chambersburg.

Keebaugh noted games such as the egg lift and especially the bucket brigade were a big hit with the kids, and organizers are already planning to incorporate additional water games into the 2010 schedule based on popularity. The event concluded Sunday with a special presentation to the top male and female cadet of the week - Jacob Bookheimer and Reva Souders. The duo were selected on a variety of criteria ranging from interest and participation to leadership and a willingness to get involved.

The event was held in part by donations and sponsorships that ranged from cash, food and even transportation. Keebaugh gave special thanks to the Marion Fire Company and members Todd Sites, deputy chief, and Amy Murray for their planning assistance as well as the following businesses and organizations: Jimmie's Pizza, Lincoln Way Pizza, Giant, Cluggy's, Johnnies Restaurant and Supplies, Eddy's Engraving & Gifts, Jones Fire Extinguishers, Jones Fire Suppression, Peck's Transportation, McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Company Chicken Barbeque Committee, Dana's Signs and McConnellsburg Volunteer Junior Fire Company members headed by Dreama and Norman "Bubby" Everts.

Keebaugh further noted representatives from Stine, Davis and Peck Insurance Agency were also instrumental in making sure the event was properly covered by insurance. "They fought tooth and nail for us to make this event go through," said Keebaugh.

With the first Dream Weekend behind them, organizers are already taking steps to ensure that the 2010 event is an even bigger success. Plans are to increase participation to 25 area youth, and a new committee of eight members has been established to begin event scheduling.

Any residents or businesses interested in lending a hand for the 2010 Dream Weekend are urged to contact Chip Keebaugh at 717-414-9588 or Chief Pete Lynch at 717-485-4006.

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