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Fighting for survival

The firefighters of the Citizens Volunteer Fire Company are getting ready to celebrate their 122nd anniversary on Tuesday and they are fighting to keep the doors open.
With a nearly $300,000 debt on the social hall, the firefighters who are with the company are doing everything in their power to fight for survival.
“We feel our prospects are better than they were a month ago,” said newly installed president Chris Hammond. “We are working with the bank and Mayor Stoner has told the chief that she would help in any way she can. We have had other fire companies who have offered to help and do what they can for us.”
Volunteer fire companies across the commonwealth are fighting financial difficulties.
State Representative Larry Sather is fighting to help the companies.
Sather is the sponsor of House Bill 8, eneabling legislation for the $25 million direct grant program for volunteer fire and emergency management services companies that is included in the 2003-04 state budget. This bill is part of a homeland security legislative package that the House will vote on in the near future.
The Citizens are planning a slew of fundraisers in the near future.
“We’re planning a car wash for next Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the fire hall,” said Hammond.
“We are also looking at possibly doing adult dances at the Legion as well as our youth dances that we are having.”
Other possible fundraisers in the future include a free-style rap battle and in September, the second installment of Firefest.
There is a small core of members of the Citizens fighting for the survival of the fire company.
“There are about eight or ten of us fighing for this,” said Hammond. “Every now and then a couple extra will come out. I really believe that if we can pull out of our problems it will be possible to get more members.”
There is a mixed reaction in the community about the future of the Citizens according to Hammond.
“If we close the doors, it will hurt the fire coverage in Tyrone,” said the company president.
“In 2000, there was a fire next door to our fire house. If we wouldn’t have not been next door, we probably wouldn’t have been able to save the life.”
The firefighters are working this weekend to raise money by selling flowers for easter. The flower sale is going on at the fire hall today and tomorrow.
“We’re always looking for new members,” said Hammond. “We can always use help with selling sandwiches or helping with various fundraisers.”
To get involved, contact any member of the Citizens Fire Company.