Have you ever received a phone call from a person who claims to represent a fire department requesting a cash donation?
Over the past several years, some scams and some fund-raising campaigns have occurred in the Brainerd lakes area. Often, these projects do not benefit fire departments here.
The Brainerd Fire Department rarely participates in fund-raising efforts. When the volunteers sponsor a fund-raising project, the firefighters make every effort to inform citizens of the activities they do sanction.
Now, the Brainerd Fire Department is kicking off a fund-raising drive. Firefighters are selling the second print in a two-part series.
The print, commissioned from J.D. Speltz, depicts a historic Brainerd scene. The scene, which includes the former Brainerd Fire Hall -- most recently used as a senior center, was based on a late 1950s photograph obtained from the Crow Wing County Historical Society.
The print offers warm colors in a winter holiday scene. The moonlit scene reveals an old International fire truck parked in front of the fire hall. Several small sparrows are in this second print as well, which represent past firefighters.
Each print, which is about 10 by 15 inches, costs $29.95. Framing and matting is optional at additional cost.
"We don't normally knock on doors," said Fire Engineer Charlie Dunemann.
Fire Engineer Fred Underhill said this fund-raising effort was agreed upon, in part, to reflect the history of the fire department.
"This was one way to remember the past," Underhill said.
Those who purchased the first part of this series may purchase the same numbered edition of the second print.
With its fund-raising money, the firefighters have purchased additional firefighting equipment as well as made donations to various organizations, including the Salvation Army.
Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Mahle said it is important for the buyer to be aware whenever asked for funds. He noted other organizations, in the past, have led people to believe they are raising funds for area fire departments, which is not typically true.
"This is a legitimate deal," he said.
"Without the volunteer firefighters, the system would not work," he said. "They are the backbone to what we do."
For more information or to purchase a print, contact a Brainerd firefighter or the fire department at 828-2312. The fund-raising effort will run through Feb. 29.
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