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Nursery volunteer firefighters cook up a fundraiser

By JJ VELASQUEZ
March 14, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
Updated March 13, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.

Mission Valley Fire Chief Danny Fisher holds up an animal pelt during the bidding auction Sunday. Proceeds went toward sustaining daily operations and providing supplies to the Nursery Volunteer Fire Department.

NURSERY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Nursery department serves an 81-square-mile district of 3,400 people.

It receives $1,000 annually from Victoria County. The proceeds from the fundraiser, during which the department typically sells 600 to 800 barbecue plates, go to subsidizing operations and supplies.

Nursery has four fire trucks and responds to about 200 calls a year, Fire Chief Mike Kelly said.

Fourteen volunteers fight fires for the department.

On Saturday night, Mike Kelly and Danny Fisher worked together to try to extinguish a house fire.

The two collaborated again Sunday to raise funds for the Nursery Volunteer Fire Department, of which Kelly is the fire chief.

Fisher, the Mission Valley Volunteer Fire Department chief, helped with the fundraiser because the two volunteer fire departments rely on each other's efforts to fight fires in Victoria County.

"It's a total win-win situation for the community," he said. "And that's how we're driven: It's all for the community."

The Mission Valley and Nursery volunteer departments have a mutual aid agreement in which both departments will respond to calls in the districts they serve. The agreement has been good for five years and helps the Nursery department serve its district of 81 square miles and 3,400 people, Kelly said.

Even so, the department, established in 1967, needs help easing its budget constraints.

Subsidizing portions of the expenses that come along with operating a fire department and keeping it supplied, the fundraiser included a barbecue plate sale and auction.

A number of items were auctioned off Sunday, from wooden crosses to a tequila basket.

Kelly said most people like to leave with something tangible to know they have donated to keeping the community protected.

"We're working to save the community, protect lives and property, and they know it," he said. "And I think they appreciate and they come up to us and let us know they appreciate it."

Representatives from other volunteer fire departments within the county also came to show support and solidarity.

Fisher said each of the 11 volunteer fire departments in Victoria County, and including the Victoria Fire Department, have worked with one another.

"Eleven heads are better than one," Fisher said.

The volunteer fire department receives $1,000 from the county every year.

"VFDs get what little tax dollars provide," Vance Riley, Victoria Fire Department fire chief, said. "So it's real important that the public comes out and supports their local VFD."

Riley said he enjoys coming out to the fundraiser every year with his wife.

"The food's always great. There's lots of fun at the auction. And it's for a good cause," Riley said.

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