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Fire company teases appetites, raises funds

August 03, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - "I smelled it as I was driving by so I stopped," said Steve Barkley of Hagerstown.

Barkley, 30, was at the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.'s pit beef, pork and chicken barbecue Saturday, July 31, and he wasn't the only one whose nose led him to the event.

Tanya Rothert and her father, Dean Lassiter, were in the area from Illinois visiting Rothert's grandmother, Isabel Fauble, at Ravenwood Lutheran Village.

Rothert said when the tempting barbecue aroma reached her and her father in the car, they immediately pulled over to buy a summery takeout meal to share with Fauble back at her home.

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Lassiter said his family is originally from Maryland, and he enjoys supporting local events.

"It's a fun thing to do and a good way to support the community," he said.

Other diners said they don't want to miss a tasty pit-barbecued meal. They know the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. holds regular barbecues the last Saturday of each month from April through October, so they plan on it and attend regularly.

Doris Obitts, 75, of Hagerstown, went to the barbecue along with her friend, Viola Waugh, 84, of Funkstown.

"We always come when they have it," Obitts said.

The women agreed that the food is very good and they like helping out the fire company.

The price was $5 for a pit beef, a smoked ham sandwich or half of a chicken. For an additional dollar, diners got a full meal, including baked beans, potato salad and a roll. Patrons could opt for takeout meals or eat in the fire department's dining hall.

Larry Iseminger, 50, of Funkstown, is a 34-year member and current president of the company. He said the monthly barbecue is an effective fund-raiser. It's fun, members show up to help, and it brings in a decent profit. Saturday's barbecue netted more than $1,000.

Iseminger said the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.'s annual operating budget is about $292,000, $49,000 of which is funded by the Washington County government. The difference is made up through fund-raising, including barbecues, bingo and fund drive mailings.

Operating expenses for the department include equipment, supplies and fuel, as well as the salary of one career firefighter. The company has a bunk room that sleeps 10 and typically is occupied by four or five firefighters each night.

Iseminger said in addition to responding to fire calls, the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. has a rescue squad with which members respond to life-threatening emergency situations, such as heart attacks, strokes and extrication from vehicles in accidents.

"If somebody has a heart attack at 3 o'clock in the morning, we can quickly send a unit to respond," Iseminger said.

Also, the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. is planning special events to commemorate its 75th anniversary in 2005.

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