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Community supports firefighters

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ST. IGNATIUS – One of the newest volunteer firefighters with the St. Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department was selling tickets for raffle items at this year’s fundraising picnic on Saturday. 

Amanda Rice said she recently became a volunteer firefighter with the department because her grandfather, uncle and fiancée were all volunteer firefighters, and she wanted to do her part. “This is also a way to give back to the community,” she said.

Rice said many local businesses donated items to the auction in an effort to help the firefighters raise funds to do the work they do. Volunteer firefighter Ray Frey said the department plans to use the funds to maintain existing equipment and purchase more wildland firefighting gear like pants, boots and gloves. 

Assistant chief Reece Bailey said the department hasn’t had many calls for fires in the past year. He said the department was able to save two structures. The firefighters also respond to vehicle wrecks in town and on U.S. Highway 93. He said there haven’t been any fatalities in the St. Ignatius area involving wrecks from the time of the last picnic to the current one. 

“We also had a great year for new volunteers,” he said. “We had four people volunteer, but we can always use more.”

The items donated to this year’s picnic ranged from rocks to hay bales and seven elkhound puppies. The Hout sisters, Peyton, 8, and Eva, 9, were tasked with watching the puppies their family donated during the auction. “We don’t want them to get scared,” Peyton said holding one of the puppies. The girls added that they would miss the puppies, but they were happy to help the firefighters. 

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