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Families supporting a bigger family - the community revs their engines for local fire department

Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 12:40 AM EDT
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CAIRO, W.Va. (WTAP) - The community showed up revving their engines in support of their local fire department on Saturday.

This fundraiser was planned for Father’s Day weekend to get families together to support a good cause.

The pandemic, wiped out pretty much all fundraising events for Cairo Volunteer Fire Department, and even before then, the department was tight on funds, according to Fire Chief Zach Foster.

So this fundraiser was extra special.

Locals showed up in style, sporting helmets and four-wheelers. The group embarked on a 30 mile course to raise funds for the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department. Fire Chief Zach Foster says money raised will be put into a savings account and will fund protective equipment like helmets and boots.

The event was hosted on Father’s Day weekend for a reason.

Foster said of the annual event , “..., and we try to do it on Father’s Day weekend and so that’s an event that people want to - people want to bring their dad. You know, they come in on the weekend...they’ve been planning this all year. We heard from a lot of people months ago asking about it.”

WTAP spoke with a father-son duo about their connection to Cairo Volunteer Fire Department and ATV’s as well as what the event meant to them.

For Joe and Connor Elliot, dirt roads are familiar territory. Connor’s been in ATV’s for as long as he can remember.

Joe said, “We strapped his baby seat in the back in the seat and away we go - put the car seat in and go.”

It’s something that’s always brought them together.

“Anytime you can get your 16-17 year old son to hang out with you and do things that you both enjoy, it’s a plus,” Joe said.

Four-wheeling and father-son bonding may be fun but it’s not the only thing that drew these two to the event. Connor is a junior firefighter himself. He said he joined to…

“Just to be able to help people. You have a purpose instead of just going to a job and then leaving, you know?”

When Connor became a junior firefighter, he didn’t just join a fire department, he became part of a family. And what does family do? They support each other.

For Joe and Connor, one instance in particular sticks out.

Joe remembered, “My son in law had some health issues and was recovering from cancer and they had a benefit ride out of this field two years ago for him to help him out and he’s a member of the fire department and the turn out that day was phenomenal. I mean, there was hundreds of people here.”

Joe said the fire department supports the community and the community supports the department.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

While the Cairo Volunteer Fire Department gets most of its funding from the state for their operating budget, Foster said...,

“..., so far as large purchases and any major equipment, that comes from this. That’s how we do that and how we keep progressing. We consider ourselves a progressive fire department...really trying to build up with some newer stuff and we just can’t do it without the funds so this is a big help.”

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