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Local Volunteer Fire Department Holds Fundraiser

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LAWTON, Okla__Area volunteer firefighters dedicate their time to helping their community.

But today was all about the community coming together to raise money for one of Comanche County's newest volunteer fire departments. 

The smell of chili, cornbread, and jalapenos filled the air of the LO Rodeo Clubhouse today for Valley View's first fundraiser. 

And the chili cook off was a huge success.
Hundreds of people came out for good food and the chance to donate to a department that runs solely off donations. 

And you might even recognize the firefighter who walked away with the department's top award.

The main focus of Saturday's event was to raise funds for a volunteer fire department that works hard to support the community.

But it also became a time to honor those members of the department who go above and beyond. 

"So this year we'd like to award Matt DiPirro as fire fighter of the year."

Our very own Matt DiPirro received this top honor, an award that he was not expecting. 

"It was a complete shock I was over there serving chili and had no idea.  Someone kind of said 'hey, they're doing firefighter of the year,' and I heard my name and just complete shock, didn't know what to say.  Almost chills because I didn't expect it whatsoever," DiPirro said.

But to Matt it is not about one person's work on the department. Everyone is a team, a family.
 
So today that team came together to help raise money for their department, ran solely by volunteers, and DiPirro says that money is essential for a newer volunteer fire department like Valley View to be able to continue to operate successfully.
 
"We have some older equipment and you need money to maintain that equipment.  Fuel costs are pretty high, our trucks don't get great gas mileage obviously," DiPirro said.

And community support from fundraiser's like these means the department gets to continue its mission. 

"It means we get to continue on and serve our community for another year.  Every year we try to have a fund raiser this is the first one we've had with Valley View here.  That gives us enough money to make it through the winter and in the summer.  Hopefully we pick up another grand or two in the mean time," Assistant Fire Chief Michael Merritt said.

Merritt says the event is more than just chili. They have worked to put together other things that can raise additional money for the department.

"We had a silent auction going on.  Most of the items have been donated to the fire department to put in the silent auction.  Whatever money raise on the auction goes directly back to the fire department," Merritt said.

With 19 volunteer departments in Comanche County alone funding can be difficult, and DiPirro says any little bit helps.

"I don't think we had a set number in mind.  I think at this point every volunteer fire department is just happy with every penny that they get."

Not only was the Valley View Fire Department there but other local fire departments were invited to compete in the chili competition.

 

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