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Community shows up to support firefighters

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ST. IGNATIUS – Kay Kelly looked at silent auction items that were donated by businesses and community members at the 21st annual Fireman’s Picnic on Saturday at the Old Town Field.

“I always want to help support volunteer firemen,” she said as she thought about where to place a bid.

She often imagines what could have happened to her house without the firefighters. “I had a chimney fire about 20 years ago and they came out, pronto,” she said.“Now, I want to help them as much as I can.”

The St. Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department firefighters hold the auction every year to raise funding for operation costs.

Kelly moved over to the live auction items next with hundreds of donated things like machinery, grain, hats, and pies.

“There are a lot of different things here,” she said.

Jordann Underwood, 10, sat with family and a crowd of people at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion where the auction was held, eating a lunch prepared by the firefighters.

She is growing up in a family with several firefighters, so she knows about the importance of their work.

“My dad fought wildland fires,” she said. “And my uncle volunteers in Ronan.”

She said it’s important to support firefighters everywhere.

“And the food is good here, too,” she said of the picnic.

Elexa Monroy, 9, was jumping around in the bouncy house at the event with her friends.

“I love the Fireman’s Picnic,” she said. “They always help you out if you are about to lose your house in rough times.”

Over in the food line, firefighters and other volunteers were working to serve the picnic lunch. This year, the food was cooked during the picnic with a slightly different menu than usual. In years past, volunteers spent all night cooking.

“Everyone really accepted our change without complaint,” said Volunteer Firefighter Ray Frey. “It all worked out well.”

Volunteer Bear Bentrup said a “good crowd” showed up for the event, and that people started to really show up later in the afternoon.

Frey said that it looked to him like more people attended this year than in the past several years.

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