2010-07-08 / Front Page

MVFC Launches Annual Fund Drive

Money sought to aid with building and equipment expenses
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. officials kicked off their annual fund drive this week with a mailer to Fulton County residents outlining their services, response calls logged and most pressing immediate and future financial concerns.

In their letter, officials explained the company continues to provide not only fire protection and ambulance service but also a 24-hour paramedic service covered solely through company funds. MVFC fire Chief Pete Lynch shared with the “News” in looking at the difficult economic hardships both the company and the general public are continuing to experience, services currently offered to residents may not always be available or at the very minimum offered on a smaller scale.

For example, the company has already begun decreasing the size of its existing 24-hour ALS service. Over the course of the last 10 years, Lynch noted, the company has provided around-the-clock paramedic coverage at no cost to the public using three full-time and three part-time paramedics.

Lynch also reported income generated through ambulance billing has dropped off, which he notes is to be expected with so many individuals out of work and out of health insurance.

In addition to receiving donations from county residents and local municipalities, the majority of the money raised at this time by the company originates from fundraisers ranging from bingo events, dinners, raffles, chicken and rib barbecues and a food stand at popular county events. Even proceeds raised through twice-weekly bingo and monthly basket bingo events have dropped significantly due to the economy, Lynch stated.

“We’re hoping we can continue to rely on our local townships to help pay the mortgage for our new building,” said Lynch, who added municipality donations typically generate $12,000 toward the $36,000 mortgage payment the company pays annually.

Residents and business owners maintain the option of donating toward the fire company’s building project fund drive or to the annual general fund drive, which aims to reduce equipment debt service. Lynch stated unexpected costs encountered in building maintenance in 2010 include $20,000 to replace the roof of the old firehall. The building must be maintained and upgraded as necessary as it currently serves as an emergency shelter for both the Central Fulton School District and Fulton County Medical Center.

Equipment-related expenses have also started to mount in 2010 for the fire company. An estimated $30,000 has been expended to date for upgrades and inspections for both fire and EMS equipment. Most significant has been the pump testing and ladder certification for both engines and the ladder truck.

“Everyone has been extremely generous in the past. We’re asking everyone to dig as deep as they possibly can to continue helping the company,” concluded Lynch. Any donation, no matter the size will be accepted.

Any residents or businesses wishing to make a donation toward the fund drive is asked to make their check payable to the McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. with a notation reading either “fund drive” or “building drive” and mail it in the appropriate envelope to P.O. Box 724, McConnellsburg, PA 17233.

Individuals wishing to get a sneak peek at the company’s extensive facilities and equipment are urged to come out to the fire company’s open house scheduled for Saturday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kids are invited to tour the equipment bays, and free blood pressure screenings will be offered.

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