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Fire department holiday dinner tradition turns to curbside service

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Dec 18, 2020

Members of the fire department, along with Honorary Fire Chief Jessica Fuss, pack to-go boxes for community members at Sunday's curbside pick-up of the holiday meal. Toni Milbourne

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “We have been hosting this dinner for about the last 10 to 12 years,” said Denny Barron, Shepherdstown Fire Department treasurer. Barron was referring to the annual holiday “thank you” meal the department hosts for the community as a thank you for the continued support of Company 3.

This year, the event was still held on Sunday, but like many other events, had to take on a different look. Meals were prepared by fire department volunteers and boxed for curbside pick-up by all who drove through the parking lot. Each dinner contained ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, rolls, applesauce and cookies.

“Normally we serve between 250 and 300,” Barron said, mentioning the volunteers had secured 400 to-go boxes just in case. “Any leftovers, we will take to the rescue mission.”

According to Baron, traditionally, most attendees arrive at the station between 12 and 1 p.m. A steady stream of cars making the circuit through the department’s parking lot on Martinsburg Pike, showing that the community wanted to continue with the tradition as well.

Honorary Fire Chief Jessica Fuss, who received her crown and sash at December’s membership meeting, was the friendly face placing each boxed dinner in the hands of the community members who drove up to the door.

Volunteer members of Shepherdstown Fire Department prepared a delicious holiday meal Sunday as a thank you to the community for all of the support given throughout the year. Toni Milbourne

Fuss, who would normally have been crowned at the department’s 2020 annual banquet, was unable to begin her reign when COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the March event. The holiday dinner was her first official activity in the role for which she was selected.

“Jessica will continue to serve as our honorary chief again next year,” said Chief Ross Morgan.

In addition to the holiday dinner, members of the department have been escorting Santa Claus through the neighborhoods around town.

“This is the second year we have taken Santa around,” said Marshall DeMeritt. “It is a lot of fun. I really enjoy that.”

The past year has been a challenge for the department, as their traditional fundraisers, like weekly bingo, and special events, such as the annual bake auction, were all canceled. To continue fundraising efforts, the department has created an online auction, offering a variety of items for bidders to try their luck. For just $10 a chance, those hoping to secure the prize can have their name placed into the hopper. The next item to be offered is a Husky toolbox.

The link to the online raffle store can be found at the fire department’s website at shepherdstownfiredepartment.com.