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Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016

Fired up over chili

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wartrace volunteer firefighters try to get the piles of donated auction items ready for the chili supper Saturday night. From left are Josh Sowers, Josh Carlock, Assistant Chief Isaac Keith, Capt. Rodney Schmiede, Cliff Metcalf and Chief Jeff Phillips.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves) [Order this photo]
Saturday night will see a number of "firsts" for the Wartrace Volunteer Fire Department. It's the first time the department has held a chili supper and auction fundraiser -- and it's the first time since the passing of the late, great '"Hoss" Cartwright that his legendary chili will be cooked again.

"Josh Carlock is good friends with his grandson, Joel (Johnson)," said Fire Chief Jeff Phillips. "He made the phone call and Joel is going to carry on the family tradition."

Joel's brother, Adam, is also donating his skills as an auctioneer for the event. The community has been very generous to the cause and the items donated for the auction include a load of gravel, a new gun, kitchen appliances, automotive supplies, tools, tarps, gift certificates and coupons, just to name a few of the many items. The chili supper will take place Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. Besides the auction, there will be live music, produced by Duane Drake and the Double Take band.

Like all other volunteer fire departments, Wartrace has to be creative when raising funds. Although there are grants and federal, state and local supplements, much of the operating budget is raised by the volunteers and their families. The Wartrace department has a turkey shoot every year, as well as other projects, but this is the first time they've opted for a chili supper.

"We want to try to get more involved with the community and we want the community to get more involved with us," said Josh Sowers, another volunteer firefighter.

Volunteer recruitment is an ongoing campaign at almost every volunteer fire hall, said Phillips.

"We can always use more help down here," he said.

Some of the money is earmarked for improvement at the fire hall and making it a friendlier, more comfortable environment for the firefighters and their families, said Phillips.

"If it's nice, they'll want to hang out down here, and if there are more people down here, that means we've got more people on call," he said.

The funds raised are also used for equipment and training, which every fire department has to upgrade constantly. He hopes anyone interested will speak up at the chili supper.

"Now is a real good time to get started," said Capt. Rodney Schmiede. "The 16-hour training class is in May and it's mandatory. If they sign up now, they'll be able to fight fire sooner."

Tickets for the chili supper are $5 each and can be purchased at the Wartrace fire hall.

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