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Local firefighters plan fundraiser at island oasis

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By MORGAN MANNS

STAFF WRITER

Every day, Fostoria’s firefighters work tirelessly to help the citizens of Fostoria.

Next weekend, they are asking community members to return the favor.

Fostoria Fire Division will host a weekend-long fundraiser at Jimmy Bukkett’s, 2815 N. CR 198 in Fremont, May 18-20 in an effort to raise money for its charity fund. There is no cost to attend.

Fostoria Firefighters Local 325, which is working on re-obtaining its 501(c)3 status, spearheads several charities for the community, including the Locked Out Program, Coats for Kids, free smoke detectors and installation, free smoke detectors for the hearing impaired, free carbon monoxide detectors and more.

“Times are tough and we can’t just rely on donations from clubs or organizations anymore,” fire Chief Brian Herbert said. “We want to make sure we have the funds to be able to continue to provide these charities to the community.”

Members of Fostoria’s Fire Division will be working the event in all aspects from opening to serving as bartenders to handling the raffles to cleaning up after hours.

Fostoria Fire Division’s fundraiser will kick off Jimmy Bukkett’s season, which will include live entertainment from Ground Chuck from 7-11 p.m. May 18; Lance Horwedel from 1-5 p.m. and Jessica Hannan Band from 7-11 p.m. May 19; and Master T.C. & The Visitors (acoustic) from 2-6 p.m. May 20.

In addition to the live entertainment, there will be several auction and raffle items.

“We’ve been trying to get in for three years,” Herbert said of the outdoor venue. “And they’ll only have you come back if you have a good turnout. So we’re really trying to push for people to come, even if just for a little bit.”

What started as a bar for campers at Memory Marina turned out to be so much more.

For 12 years, Jimmy Bukkett’s has been offering its tropical riverfront getaway to area groups and organizations to help them raise funds for their charities.

The island oasis sits on a bed of sand along the Sandusky River and is equipped with games, adult-sized swings, wooden beach chairs, lighted palm trees and two outdoor bars with a food trailer that offers a limited menu of hot sandwiches as well as sides.

“I never expected it to turn into this,” Jim Leaser, owner, said. “It became more and more popular and more people started showing up… and it just kind of blossomed and worked out to where we could do charity events. It worked out well for everyone. They enjoy it. We enjoy it. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

The outdoor venue is located at the bottom of a slight hill. Parking is located at the top of the hill.

The venue is open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, noon to midnight on Saturdays and 12-7 p.m. on Sundays.

Herbert said a lot of the traffic through Jimmy Bukkett’s is “in and out traffic.”

“Most of the crowd doesn’t stay the whole time,” he said, explaining they see a lot of people stop by on boats and motorcycles while they’re traveling through the area. “It’s a good time and its for a good cause. Even just a little bit of your time will help us out.”

Additionally, members of the fire department are currently selling raffle tickets for a $1,000 grand prize. Each ticket costs $10 and Herbert said they are only selling 200. The winner doesn’t need to be present to win.

The fire division will receive a portion of the proceeds from the weekend and the raffle to put into the union’s charity fund, which will cover the costs of the following programs and services:

The Locked Out Program allows safety personnel to have easy access to a residence when responding to emergency medical calls where that individual lives alone or is unable to get to their door.

A lock box, similar to what real estate agents use, is placed on the handle of the main door at the residence at no cost to the homeowner. The box, which has a reflective sticker on it labeling FFD, can only be accessed by fire personnel.

Inside the hardened steel boxes is a key to the residence, the resident’s name and age, an emergency contact and medical history.

The program began in January of 2015 thanks to donations from local businesses as a way for first responders to get into a residence without damaging the home.

In addition to the lock boxes, the division also offers and installs free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

FFD offers other community outreach programs, such as Coats for Kids, providing winter apparel for area youngsters; and Safety Town and Fire Safety and Prevention Week, teaching children about smoke detectors, what to do in the event of a fire and how to speak with their parents about home fire plans.

Personnel also go into the schools to read to students or eat lunch with them. Recently, a few have offered to assist in Project MORE, mentoring students in grades 3-6 at Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School.

“We want to make sure the union is providing and giving back to the community as much as we receive,” Herbert said. “We offer a lot to the community to keep them safe and educated.”

For more information on Fostoria Fire Division, to purchase a raffle ticket or to find out more about next weekend’s fundraiser, call the fire station at 419-435-3206.

For more information on Jimmy Bukkett’s, visit http://jimmybukketts.com/, find the venue on Facebook or call 419-334-3313.

Other area groups and organizations scheduled to set up at Jimmy Bukkett’s this year — May through September — include the Kiwanis Club of Fremont, Lakota Football, Fremont Fire Fighters for Local Charities, Pontifex Fights Hunger, Hi-Society Baton Corps, Riders Unlimited and more.

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