Rally will raise money to buy camera for Peabody dept.

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Residents of the Peabody area will have the opportunity to help the 4th Fire District acquire a thermal-imaging camera when the community rallies June 10 to raise money for its purchase.

Efforts to raise the desired $10,000 to 12,000 for the potentially life-saving tool will include a benefit supper, silent auction and bake sale. The event will begin at 5 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Peabody-Burns Elementary School, 506 Elm.

“We promised the firemen we’d earn enough money so they could purchase their heat-imaging camera,” said Cora Bloomer, one of the event organizers.

“We have a group of women that came together and decided we needed this camera and we’re working toward that.”

Bloomer and Esther Brooks, spokeswomen for the group, hope the effort will make Peabody and the surrounding area safer in the event of fire.

“Fires show no favoritism,” Bloomer said. “I know every town thinks they have an excellent fire department with great volunteers, and Peabody is no exception. But they could operate so much more efficiently if they had a camera of their own.”

A thermal-imaging camera measures the infrared radiation emitted by a target surface and converts the radiation into a two-dimensional image.

“These cameras are heat sensing devices you can use for search and rescue,” said Bret O’Dell, Peabody fire chief. “You can go into a totally dark place and pick up body heat, or you can use it to find hot spots in fires as well.”

O’Dell said thermal-imaging cameras are a firefighter’s best friend in the effort to rescue potential fire victims.

“If there’s a fire in a house, there’s a lot less structure damage when we’re looking for the fire source,”O’Dell said. “But more importantly, you can find people a lot faster and a lot easier. It’s mainly a safety issue.”

Bloomer said she hopes Saturday’s fund-raiser will solve that safety issue. She added that if participation is any indicator, the fire department could be well on its way to owning the camera.

“We’ve had a great response,” she said. “It really makes me feel good.”

The meal menu includes fried or baked chicken, potato salad or coleslaw, baked beans, bread and butter, cake, ice cream and drinks.

“The wonderful thing about our supper is that the churches are all going to contribute food,” Bloomer said. “One’s making coleslaw, one potato salad and so on, and our local grocery store is donating the meat and even cooking it. The churches that donate items will also contribute the labor to serve their contributions.

“I think that’s just a wonderful thing.”

Also donated are Pepsi products, ice cream, cake and all the paper wares necessary for the meal.

“Other than incidentals like some advertising, every penny will go toward our goal of purchasing the camera,” Bloomer said.

Admission to the meal will be by donation.

“If someone wants to donate a $50 bill, we’ll take it,” she said with a smile. “We won’t turn anyone away because this event is all about raising money.”

The silent auction, meanwhile, will include items donated by private individuals and area businesses. Included on the list are a handmade quilt, a handmade clock with Westminster chimes and numerous items donated by merchants from all around the area.

“We’ve had wonderful support from everyone-the business community, churches, clubs and individuals,” Bloomer said. “We’ve even received a donation from as far away as California.

“We believe everyone understands the impact fire has on all of us whether it’s a house fire, a business or a church.”

Bloomer said items for auction will be accepted until noon Saturday at PBE or by calling her at 620-983-2907.

Those attending also will be able to fulfill their appetite for baked goods-all donated.

“We’ll have pies, breads, cakes, noodles-anything that’s food,” Bloomer said.

Attenders can also inspect a fire truck, ambulance and police car provided by local officials.

“We also hope to have a med-evac helicopter on site,” Bloomer said. “And we’d like to borrow a thermal-imaging camera so people can see what our goal is.”

O’Dell said he, along with the other 22 members of his department, appreciate the efforts of the community.

“These ladies are putting a lot of hours into this project and showing so much community support,” he said. “Sometimes as a volunteer you wonder why you’re doing this, but when the community comes together in an effort like this to support the department, it really makes it all worthwhile.”

Bloomer said if the event happens to raise more money than the camera costs, the excess funds will be put to good use.

“If we raise enough money, the department will be able to purchase other attachments that will make the camera even more efficient,” she said.

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