Litchfield Firefighters Ham it up at CHS

April 17, 2015

by Marc Ayotte

It got off to a little bit of a slow start, but the 35th anniversary of the Litchfield Firefighters Association Ham and Beans benefit supper finished strong, drawing out hundreds of townspeople to enjoy the meal served in the Campbell High School cafeteria on Saturday, April 11.

According to Jimmy Rea, an 11 year veteran of the Litchfield Fire Department and the association’s president, among the uses for the proceeds is the awarding of scholarships to benefit individuals heading into the public service sector.  This year a $500 scholarship will be given to one CHS graduating senior who will be pursuing a career in nursing, firefighting, police work and the medical field, to name a few.

“We also donate to other charities,” offered Rea, citing the New Hampshire chapter of the Firefighters Cancer Awareness Fund as one of the larger recipients.  This year they donated $500 to the area chapter of the Salvation Army for their continued support of the department, including providing food, water and shelter during two big fires responded to in February, according to Rea.

Additionally, Rea indicated that some of the funds go to buying equipment for the fire department, specifically noting the recent acquisition of a defibrillator as well as an OHRV (an off road vehicle used in fighting forest fires).

Members of the fire department manned the various stations in the cafeteria; volunteering to serve the public with an impressive array of food including ham, hot dogs, beans, mac & cheese, potato salad and a slice of cake for dessert.  In addition to the funds generated from the meal itself, the association sold ads on placemats used for the occasion as well as sold t-shirts and conducted a raffle with prizes donated by area businesses.

In discussing today’s prevailing role as an association, Rea offered; “we are more of a community service, involved with fundraisers for charity.”  Continuing, he noted; “but originally, in 1980, it was formed to provide insurance for the firefighters.  He revealed that the insurance, in the absence of town coverage, covered medical expenses incurred by firefighters who suffered injury in the line of work.  “Within the last decade, the town has stepped-up and provided the insurance coverage,” added Rea.