10-2-21 REMAX Fuels VFDs.JPG

Daily Sun photo Michael Kormos

RE/MAX Lakeside Dreams distributed a total of $50,000 Thursday, to be split between 287 R/C Fire & Rescue, Kerens Volunteer Fire Department, Mustang VFD, Eureka VFD, Mildred VFD and Southern Oaks VFD.

Building on the momentum of past events and a desire to get back out on the lake, RE/MAX Lakeside Dreams’ sixth annual Poker Run fundraiser recently brought in its highest amount to be divided among lake-area volunteer fire departments.

RE/MAX distributed checks Thursday for a total of $50,000 to be split between 287 R/C Fire & Rescue, Kerens Volunteer Fire Department, Mustang VFD, Eureka VFD, Mildred VFD and Southern Oaks VFD.

“We are so grateful for our volunteer fire departments because they give this community their most valuable asset, their time,” said John Teel of RE/MAX. “They also risk injury and their lives.”

John thanked the scores of volunteers who helped staff the event, the Benefit RC board members and the owners of The Harbor Restaurant for donating briskets.

What started as a need for a new motor for Richland Chambers Lake’s only rescue boat, has evolved into a successful non-profit organization with a mission to “Fuel the Firefighters.”

Teel said he and his wife Julie started the non-profit, Benefit RC after raising $10,000 to repair 287 R/C Fire and Rescue’s boat and continued the annual Poker Run on the lake to raise money for all the lakeside VFDs.

“We plan to buy Personal Protection Equipment, and a Jaws of Life hydraulic rescue tool,” said Mike Schroder of 287 R/C. “This fundraiser has been very beneficial, not only for our department, but the others as well.”

Southern Oaks VFD Assistant Chief Van Wagnon said his department plans to buy a large brush truck, which can be used all over the area.

“We’ve gotten a Forest Service grant but have to come up with another $20,000,” he said. “This money, along with funds raised from our chili supper, will go toward meeting our goal.”

Wagnon said his VFD has been on a nine-year waiting list for the truck and once in service, it will be the crown jewel of the department.

“It will go to house fires, car, fires and grass fires,” he said. “It will put out 12,000 gallons of foam. It will be the best thing we’ve ever had.”

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the real estate office hosted last year’s fifth annual “Fuel the Firefighters” fundraiser as a series of virtual events which included Zoom parties, a silent auction and T-shirt sponsorships.

The event has raised a total of almost $220,000 since its beginning, all of which has gone directly into the hands of local agencies.

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