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Fundraisers help fire dept. make training facility a reality


June 02, 2010
Gilford Fire Rescue's community yard sale on Memorial Day weekend was a success, as the target goal of $1,500 in sales was met and slightly exceeded.

The yard sale held on last Saturday and Sunday has been in the works for months, part of a greater plan to raise money for the department's proposed fire training facility that will be funded entirely by fundraisers and donations.

Rae Mellow-Andrews of GFR said the approved plans are becoming more tangible, now that the community has been receptive toward fundraising efforts.

The Fire Department is looking to raise $30,000 in all and aimed to raise $1,200 during its auction held Wednesday night at Patrick's Pub.

"We met our goal on Saturday (at the yard sale), and we were really excited," said Mellow-Andrews. "A lot of good items sold out – I can't believe the outpouring of items people donated. There were treasures for everyone, and not just one hot item."

GFR members helped locals haul mattresses, television sets, and couches into their trucks and minivans during a warm Memorial Day weekend. Even with bartered items flying of the stands, they still managed to beat their target goal.

Only 12 personalized Gilford Fire Department $5 recipe books were left out of the 100 books produced, which turned out to be a success story of its own at the yard sale.

Gilford Fire Engineer Don Spear said it looks as though the department is almost in the position to get started on the fire training facility work.

"The Department of Public Works has already set up a foundation for us by Lily Pond at the recycling center," said Spear. "There is going to be a lot involved with piping and wiring."

Although most site work has been completed, Chief John Beland said a few more details need to be addressed before physical work can begin on the structure. Beland said the training facility will greatly benefit Gilford Fire Rescue since the closest one now is in Concord.

"We hope to have all containers (versatile Connex storage containers) set in place by the end of June," said Beland. "Belknap Landscape has been more than generous and is donating a day of crane service (to move the heavy containers to the site). It wouldn't happen without their help."

There is still a lot of work that needs to be completed before the firefighters can access the facility for training purposes, such as cutting out doorways, windows, and building props. However, the facility is designed to be a perpetually ongoing project and will never be a finished product.

Beland said the concept of the facility structure would be "dynamic" and ever changing since the realm of fire safety often changes, and no particular hazardous situation can ever be completely predetermined or planned for. This way, firefighters will not become accustomed to the same type of training over time.

Other fire departments in the area will eventually be able to access the facility as well for training purposes, and will have to abide by particular rules and sign off on a user agreement to do so.

More fundraising efforts will be in effect in the next few months, and donations are still being accepted. Checks can be made out to the Gilford Firefighter Relief Association.

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