The Kempner Volunteer Fire Department again raised thousands of dollars at its 42nd annual barbecue and auction last Saturday. In total, this year’s event raised over $52,000, a record amount. Officials said the money raised will go a long way in helping the department.
Each year, the department organizes the event as a way to gain support from the local community and businesses in the area. Along with the barbecue and auction, they are raising funds to help maintain the vital services the department provides to help protect the community from fires and other natural disasters.
Dan Hause, the department’s fire chief, said there was another use for the money raised this year.
“The reason we’re having this barbecue and auction is to complete the construction completion of Station No. 3,” Hause said. “The building is almost finished but we still have to do the parking lot and the exteriors. All of the items we get for the auction are donated by the community. I would like to thank the local community and businesses for their support.
The department’s Captain Douglas McKinney said being a volunteer firefighter is more than just being a firefighter.
“We are advisers. We are our guardian brothers,” McKinney said. “The people we help day in and day out, they see what we do and see us in our normal jobs, and see us trying to fundraise and they see that as a positive thing, and that’s when that they get involved because when you have real professionalism like us, they are grateful.
During the auction, Reps. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, and David Spiller, R-Jacksboro, both had rocking chairs that were auctioned off.
Buckley represents Texas State House District 54, which encompasses Lampasas County until January 2023. In January, Lampasas County will be included in State House District 68, currently chaired by Spiller, who will run unopposed for re-election. in November.
“I’m a big believer in a volunteer fire department, most fire departments I deal with are volunteers, and I know how important a volunteer fire department is to their communities,” Spiller said.
Buckley is also seeking re-election, but if elected to a third term, he will only represent parts of Bell County.
“You can’t have a rural community like Kempner without having a strong volunteer fire department that keeps everyone safe,” Buckley said. “Supporting this fire department is important to us and I have been proud to support it over the years.
An autographed Dallas Cowboys helmet was also auctioned off and signed by Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, which sold for $2,600.
Aubreyanna Hunter brought her daughter and son to the event and were joined by her parents JR and Theresa Lamphere.
“We go out every year to support the firefighters, and the food is always great,” JR Lamphere said.
The fire department raised funds in several ways. First they sold BBQ plates with beans, coleslaw, potato salad and brisket. Second, he raised funds from items sold at the auction. The third way he has raised funds is through financial donations from individuals and corporations.