Cumberland County American Legion raises money for first responders

1st Responders

ENOLA, Pa. (WHTM) – They come running when we call 911, and this weekend, a local American Legion post is raising money to ensure they can keep doing it.

Kids took turns Saturday using a fire hose to knock down wooden flames on top of miniature buildings outside American Legion Post 751 in Enola, Cumberland County.

This time it’s just a game; when the alarm rings at a fire station, it’s anything but, even if the equipment isn’t quite up to speed.

“You know, we’re running rigs that are 25 years old,” said John Bruetsch, spokesman for East Pennsboro Township, where Enola is located. “Most people don’t drive cars that are 25 years old.”

Bruetsch said that means the volunteer departments in the area spend a lot of time raising money.

“At this point,” he said, “we’re raising about 40 percent of our own budgets every year through fundraising.”

That’s where Legion comes in: Saturday was day two of a weekend-long first responders event.

Money raised from things like food and drink sales goes to seven emergency groups, including four fire companies, EMS, and fire police.

“Thank God for them,” said one of the cooks, representing the Sons of the American Legion. “You know, when your house catches fire, you hope they’re there.”

Friday night, the group raised $2,500 — as much as all of last year’s event, the first time they held it.

“Hopefully, even with the rain, we’ll do better tonight,” said Legion commander Ted Balko Saturday morning.

Volunteers set up tents, but the rain did seem to keep the crowds away early on.

Still, a day after the unforgettable anniversary of 9/11, the post hoped for the best for our local first responders.

And no matter how much comes in, Bruetsch said, “it’s still money we didn’t have to raise on our own.”

It makes keeping the lights on just a little easier.

The event was scheduled to continue until 10 Saturday night, at 291 West Shady Lane in Enola. It was also scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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