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Elgin Fire Department Gears Up for Annual Fundraiser

Elgin Fire Department Gears Up for Annual Fundraiser

Lawton, OKLa._The Elgin Fire Department is gearing up for its annual "Crawds- N-Rods" fundraiser in May. The free event treats attendees to a crawfish boil, car show and poker run. Chief Mike Baker said the highlight of the event is the raffling off of a custom-made, 70-thousand dollar hot rod that the fire department built themselves. Each year, the event raises thousands of dollars for a cause that firefighters say is close to their hearts.

Baker said the money raised will go towards the Elgin Fire Department's fire prevention education program. The department goes into schools and teaches kids about fire prevention and safety, and gives kids education packets to take home. Baker said that costs about ten-thousand dollars a year, which is why the fundraiser is so vital to their program.

He and firefighter Justin Wilson said there is a sense of accomplishment and excitement with each new hot rod they build. Baker said he still can't believe how much the fundraiser has grown.

"Ten years ago it started here at the fire station, we bought 200 pounds of crawfish and about 100 t-shirts. Last year we bought about 3000 thousand pounds of crawfish and about eight-thousand dollars worth of t-shirts," he said.

They started building motorcycles to raffle off about five years ago and then switched to hot rods last year. Baker said each finished car seems more beautiful than the last.

"This particular car has a 350 330 horse motor brand new, GM performance motor brand new. It has a brand-new transmission. It runs and drives down the road just like a brand new car, " he said.

Wilson said he is proud of the finished product, but admits he is partial to one part of the car.

"The big wheel and tire in the back...actually, the company said we couldn't do it...and we proved them wrong...to me that's the best part right there," said Wilson.

Both Baker and Wilson said that building this hot rod is truly a labor of love. It took about forty-thousand dollars and six months of hard work to complete it. But they said the real reward is seeing the winners reaction and knowing that the money raised will go towards the department's fire prevention education program; not to mention the numerous memories from past fundraisers.

"The guy last year, he sends us pictures. He loves it to death and it's just a great feeling to know that you've given someone else joy just by a simple car," said Wilson.

"I know one year, we gave away the bike. The guy wasn't there, you don't have to be present to win. But he got here real quick. He won a motorcycle and his son rides. The son showed up and they rode off together. That was very rewarding to us, " said Baker.

He said another rewarding aspect is that the money raised allows his department continue their efforts to educate kids about fire safety, which he said is key to avoiding a disaster.

"I don't want to jinx us but we've not had a fire structure in this town in a long time. I'd like to think it's due to some of our hard work and educating people. We've had a lot of kitchen fires, bedroom fires and things like that but people are educated about and they get out and call us quick, " said Baker. 

The "Crawds-N-Rods" fundraiser is May 11th at the Elgin Municipal Fields. The event is free, but if you want a chance to win the hot rod, the tickets are 100 dollars. They are only selling 500 tickets, and they've already sold 100. Baker said you can get them at the Elgin Fire Department or online at www.crawdsnrods.com.


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