Tonawanda News — You may have seen them during latest tragedy or fire, but they’re not well known
But for the last two years, the North Tonawanda Volunteer Fire Police have been a steady presence in support of the city’s full-time first responders.
The 20-member squad, all of whom are members of the city’s volunteer fire departments, but are not considered active participants, rush to the scene when a call is made, night or day, to control traffic around fire and crime scenes.
”It protects fire fighters and police officers and let’s them do their job so they don’t have to worry about traffic,” said Bob Fleischauer, recording secretary for the volunteer outfit. “We practice crowd control too. It frees them up to focus on their jobs.”
But for now, with only scant funding coming from the city’s fire department for their endeavors, they rely on donations to make due for purchases like winter gloves, blue portable emergency lights and boots.
A North Tonawanda company will hold a fundraiser for the members this weekend.
American Freight Furniture on Niagara Falls Boulevard will raffle off a recliner of the winner’s choice, with all proceeds going to the volunteer group, while the members themselves will sell hot dogs, pop, coffee and hot chocolate from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Kelly Warren, a spokesperson for the American Freight, said offering a recliner from its inventory to raise money for emergency workers is the least it could do.
“These men and women risk their lives on a daily basis to make the local community a safer, better place to live,” she said.
Joel Cady, vice president of sales for the North Tonawanda company, said it’s the first time American Freight has launched efforts to raise funds for the volunteers, but that the company decided to move forward with the event after being approached by members.
One of its 20-plus employees was a volunteer firefighter, though he recently retired, Cady said.
“We had some work here before,” he said. “This is our first time doing this, but we plan to make this bigger and better every year.”
American Freight, a discount furniture store in North Tonawanda, is located at 778 Niagara Falls Blvd. For more information call the store at 695-2500.IF YOU GO • WHAT: Fundraiser for North Tonawanda Volunteer Fire Police • WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday • WHERE: American Freight furniture store, 778 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda • DETAILS: Volunteers will sell hot dog lunches, raffle tickets for recliner of the winner's choice