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Marathon is on, with food and raffle sales

South Boston News
The Pansey Lone Star quilt to be raffled off Saturday. / September 09, 2021

For a second year, the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department Marathon this Saturday will be a slimmed-down affair due to the coronavirus.

In place of the festival-like atmosphere that normally reigns at the Nathalie fire station, the 2021 Marathon will consist of take-out food sales of BBQ and chicken plates and quarts of stew, plus a $1 ticket raffle for the prize of Queen-size Pansey Lone Star quilt. The Marathon will take place at the Leda Grove Road fire station beginning at 11 a.m.

“We do miss the fellowship of the day, but we understand that people’s health and safety is the most important thing,” said Cecil Hazelwood, treasurer of the NHVFD Ladies Auxiliary, which organizes the event

The Marathon is the largest fundraiser of the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, supporting public safety in a large portion of Halifax County. Along with fighting fires, the North Halifax department provides ambulance service to homes in Nathalie and surrounding areas, staffed by EMTs and paramedics who provide lifesaving care in some of the county’s most remote places.

“People in the community are good about supporting us,” said Ronnie Waller, chief of the NHVFD, and he said the Marathon plays a big role in allowing the department to do its work: “It takes some dollars to keep our building going.”

Proceeds from the Marathon are used to service the debt on the NHVD station and a fire truck that was purchased about half a dozen years ago, the most recent acquisition in the department’s fleet. The NHVFD has additional need to purchase a new ambulance, another expenditure that the Marathon will support over time. “Then there are the day-to-day expenses,” said Waller.

Firefighter and EMT training is more involved and expensive than ever, and the North Halifax department relies on the dedication of its 40 members to uphold public safety in the area. Waller observed that it’s getting harder with each passing year to maintain the work of the department, and the pandemic has only made that task tougher.

“Covid has really hurt volunteerism and I can’t say I blame people for being hesitant,” he said. Long-term trends also are working against volunteer fire and EMS units, Waller added.

“I see big changes in fire and rescue coming in the next generation” as localities are forced to compete for paid personnel to replace the volunteers that have served rural localities for decades. “Every county is running into that,” Waller said.

Saturday’s Marathon will feature $10 take-out plates of chicken and BBQ with beans, coleslaw, roll, beverage and dessert, and stew by the quart for $6. The Pansey Lone Star quilt has been hand-crafted by the quilting ladies of North Halifax, using Amish pieces. Raffle tickets are $1.00 and the winner will be announced Saturday; you do not need to be present to win.

The event will be broadcast during the day on 105.5 WKDE Radio. Phone-in pledges are welcomed, and the public is invited to call 434-349-3500 with contributions.

Last year’s Marathon was a success despite not being able to have traditional activities such as musical performances, games and other activities, and Hazelwood said she is hoping for more of the same in 2021. “It’ll be exactly what folks experienced with us last year, and we do appreciate the community support,” she said.

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