COMANCHE COUNTY, Okla._The Cox's Store Volunteer Fire Department enjoyed a double celebration Saturday. They held their 19th Annual Fish Fry, as well as their 50th anniversary celebration. In honor of the special occasions, they pulled out all the stops, hosting everything from live music, to car shows and of course plenty of food.
If you live anywhere outside of eastern Comanche County, you might have never heard of the Cox's Store Volunteer Fire Department, but at least for Saturday, it was the place to be.
If it wasn't your first fish fry, Cox's Store VFD Fire Chief Jody Dreves said you probably noticed a little more activity than normal.
"We were formed 50 years ago, and this is our celebration this year," Dreves said. "That's why it is bigger and better for us."
Dreves said typically the fish fry revolves around the meal and maybe a side attraction, but nothing like having a helicopter land on the property. Dreves said it's all thanks to sponsors, the help of the community and plenty of time to think.
"We decided six months ago that we wanted to celebrate this year," Dreves said. "We started planning this long ago because we knew it would take all we had to pull this off."
Fundraisers are important to any volunteer fire department. For this one, they are planning on adding more bays to hold trucks, but also replacing this rescue truck.
"It's beginning to give us signs that it needs more help than we are willing to give it," Dreves said.
People weren't required to pay for the meal, but donations were welcome and encouraged. Dreves said she couldn't force people to pay because the relationship between the department and community is symbiotic. This is just the department's way of saying thank you for all of the support.
"Without those people, we can't do this," Dreves said. "That is what we're here for, that's what we like to do and that's why we are here. Without these people, we can't do our job."
Each year, Dreves is happy with the turnout, but knowing how much effort was put into the 50th celebration, she didn't know what to expect.
"It's almost emotional," Dreves said. "When you open the doors and see these people waiting outside for you. It tells us that we matter, and that what we do is important to them. It makes it all worthwhile."
All worthwhile, even those phone calls late in the night.
There were also raffle items up for grabs including a colt pistol. Dreves said she estimates they had 500 pounds of fish for the event, but she wasn't sure about the calf fries.