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There were long lines for BBQ and chicken plates and stew. / September 13, 2021

The North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary had beautiful weather Saturday morning for their 44th annual NHVFD Marathon, and a big crowd showed up to support the department even though many of the traditional activities were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Firefighters, auxiliary members and volunteers prepared and sold barbecue and chicken plates and pints of stew, and the auxiliary raffled off a Pansey Lone Star quilt handcrafted by the quilting ladies of North Halifax. As people came out to purchase food, long lines formed outside the fire station on Leda Grove Road in Nathalie.

Between the food and raffle ticket sales, and private donations, the Marathon raised $43,000, said auxiliary treasurer Cecil Hazelwood. Roughly $23,000 rolled in from food sales.

Those who were unable to come out Saturday sent money for the department’s needs and continue to do so. “We’re regularly getting donations in the mail as well,” said Hazelwood, which will lift the fundraising haul before all is done.

The North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, serving Nathalie and surrounding areas, has about 40 volunteer firefighters under the command of Chief Ronnie Waller. Waller said he was pleased with the community’s support Saturday, which was in line with the fundraising totals from the 2020 Marathon.

“Expenses are a little more than last year, but I think we still came out close to what we earned last year,” said Waller.

The fundraising haul is greatly needed by the NHFVD to support its work protecting the welfare and safety of Nathalie-area residents and businesses. Each year grows more difficult for volunteer fire departments. “There used to be three generations of volunteers in the fire department and ladies auxiliary at one point,” said Waller, who said he would like to firefighter and emergency medical technician classes added back to the high school curriculum.

The fire department raised a little over $8,100 from stew sales at $6 a pint. Members of the Ladies Auxiliary began prepping the potatoes and onion for the Brunswick stew at 7 a.m. They crews turned out 450 gallons of stew by the next day that had a distinct spice that begged for another taste.

“I can’t tell you the kicking secret ingredient,” said volunteer firefighter Jody Conner as he scooped more helpings of stew into Styrofoam containers.

“It’s the best stew and I won’t eat any other,” said Sherri Haislip, who volunteered at the counter selling pints of stew. Sherri’s husband, Chad Haislip, is a volunteer at NHVFD.

Along with the long line of folks rolling through the fire department for a plate dinner of barbecue or fried chicken for $10, there were whole pies for purchase, too. Even though the plate dinner included baked bean, a roll, a slice of pie, and a drink, many people added on extra desserts. The plate dinners raised a little over $10,400.

“The volunteers roasted somewhere between 400 to 500 pounds of barbecue,” said Waller.

Located inside the fire department were two additional fundraising tables. At one table, blue and red NHVFD Supporter t-shirts were on sale for $10 each. The sale of tee shirts raised $2,130.

At the other table, North Halifax quilting ladies Sue Tucker and Ann Bates sold raffle tickets to win this year’s quilt. Sitting with them, Judy Glass kept busy working on a fall-themed table runner to show folks a sample of quit work.

“We need to more recruit more quilters,” said Glass.

The Pansy Lone Star queen size-quilt was pieced together by the Amish and quilted by Judy Glass, Ann Bates, Gloria Eanes, and Terrie Crumpton. The ladies started assembling the quilt in January and finished in August.

The quilt raffle raised $3,280, with a chance to win only costing one dollar. The winner of the quilt was Mike Bomar.

If you missed out or just want more stew, there may still be some pints available for purchase along with a few tee shirts. Contact the North Halifax Fire Department at 434-349-3500 or any member of the department to place your order.

Waller extended a thank you to the community for a successful event.

“This is all possible through the community support, the Ladies Auxiliary, and our volunteers,” said Waller.

This was the first year the fire company bagged their own ice to keep beverages cool, through the donation of an ice maker. Waller extended a special thank you to Gene Morris with Gene’s Orange Market for the use of cooler to keep their bagged ice frozen.

“Please add this event to your calendar next year and we are in hopes it will be back to normal,” said Waller.

The annual Marathon is held the second Saturday in September.

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