The Hudson Volunteer Fire Department still can’t call itself a moneyed operation, but a flash campaign launched by a former Fort Wayne resident and online mogul will at least help get its doors open – literally.
We wrote about the fire department last month. Money was tight at the little department, which relies on used equipment bought from other fire departments.
But its roof was leaking in several places, the windows were shot, and at times they couldn’t get the doors on the firehouse open, which could create a disaster in an emergency.
So a guy named John Resig, a Bishop Dwenger High School graduate and one of the founders of a company called Resignation Media and theChive.com, paid a visit to the fire department last month and promised to help. Chive Charities, part of the Resignation group, launched an online campaign Wednesday with the goal of raising $30,000. It reached that goal in a matter of hours, and by Friday had raised more than $50,000 for the fire department.
Justin Pence, a spokesman for the fire department, said the department can actually dip into the funds any time it wants, but it’s not a quick fix.
The department will have to get three bids for each of the projects it wants to tackle, including a new roof (there are so many leaks you can’t see where they are, Pence says), new doors (they get stuck), and repairs to the ceiling, which is sagging. That will take time.
"We can withdraw money any time, but we have to go through a process," Pence said. "There’s state law" that has to be followed.
Then everything will have to be taken to the Hudson town council for approval. The council meets the fourth Tuesday of every month, so its next meeting is April 26.
But there’s no mad rush.
For now, everybody is just happy, Pence said. The council is ecstatic.
"They had no words," Pence said. "They were right there with us (on Wednesday when the fundraiser started) watching it go up." Council members, by the way, apparently hadn’t heard of the Chive before this all started.
As for Pence, the fundraiser went far better than even he expected. "They blew this out of the water. You never know what it’s going to do."
The effort attracted the attention of fire departments all over the country and from as far away as Germany.
The fundraiser will continue for another few days, Pence said.
The total raised as of Friday also didn’t include about $2,700 in donations that individuals made last month when Resig showed up at the fire station. And it doesn’t include a fire truck that someone offered to donate to the department. It’s an antique. The department doesn’t need another fire truck, but could always sell it, the potential donor said.
The goal of the Chive Charities, by the way, is to make the world 10 percent happier.
He’s a lot more than 10 percent happier, Pence said.
Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, fax at 461-8893, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.