Fire department hosts hog roast, considers options for new gear

Mike Landis, Editor
Galva fireman Derek Haptonstall is shown in his gear. The department is considering ways to fund 10 new sets of firefighting gear.

The Galva community has always enthusiastically supported the fire department’s annual hog roast.

This year’s hog roast is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the fire station. The meal — pork sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, drink and dessert for $6 for adults and $3 for children — typically attracts 600 to 700 diners and raises around $6,000 to $7,000 for the department.

Last year’s hog roast, thanks to several generous donations from individuals and memorial funds, raised between $12,000 and $15,000.

“I’m very appreciative of the community support,” fire chief Denny Tarleton said. “They have taken very good care of us. The public supports us 110 percent.”

“We usually have a very good turnout. The people support it,” added Rich Volkert, the fire department’s treasurer.

Funds from the event help the department with equipment purchases, but Galva fire officials are considering other strategies in an effort to upgrade the firefighters’ gear.

“We are looking to see if there are organizations or individuals out there that would be willing to sponsor a fireman in the range of $2,000,” Volkert said.

With costs of $250 for both a helmet and boots, and around $1,800 for bunker gear — coat and pants — the $2,000 target would nearly furnish completely new gear for a firefighter. Volkert said the goal is to purchase 10 new sets of firefighting gear, creating a price tag in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.

Volkert said the department has tried to go the state route for financing, but the answer has been no.

A state grant for $26,000 was declined and another grant for radios was declined.

“The requests are in the billions and the money is in the millions,” Volkert said.

Offsetting hog roast costs

In addition to pursuing new equipment and gear, the department is trying to hold down the cost of its annual hog roast.

In years gone by, local farmers would donate hogs for the event, Bob Evans would process the hogs at no charge and the all proceeds from the meal and bags of meat sold would benefit the department.

That process has all changed. Now the department has to purchase meat, creating a start-up cost in the $1,000 to $1,500 range. The department is asking for monetary donations to help offset those costs. Donations can be sent to the Galva Fire Department, P.O. Box 171, Galva IL, 61434.

The success of the hog roast is vital to the department maintaining and upgrading its equipment.

Funds from this year’s hog roast are earmarked for completing the replacement of the Jaws of Life, which the department helped purchase in 1995.

The department also is in the midst of replacing air bottles on its back packs, at the price of about $1,000 each.