BONNERS FERRY — In a county where people’s lives depend on volunteers, the situation is even more magnified the further north you go. Hall Mountain Volunteer Fire Association, established in 1979, has been protecting its district through the dedication of volunteer firefighters and EMTs, their board of directors, and the passionate HMVFA Ladies Auxiliary which supports them.
“What I find in this north Idaho community are dedicated people willing to help their neighbors, and then end up becoming friends,” said Justine Williams, president of the HMVFA Ladies Auxiliary.
The annual Potluck and Silent Auction for HMVFA was held on a chilly Saturday, Sept. 29, from 1-3 p.m. Despite the cold, the turnout was tremendous, filling the large hall to capacity with members of the community, from old timers to new comers.
“I just moved in here not too long ago and I wanted to be part of the community and support the local fire department,” said Ricky Ulvevadet. “It’s a great turnout.”
The silent auction tables were overflowing with donated items, from plants, to homemade creations, to gift certificates donated by local businesses, and much more. Williams remarked on how generous the community was in their support.
“A big thank you to all the businesses who generously said ‘yes’ to support HMVFA Silent Auction Event,” said Williams. “We could not do this without the support of our hometown and surrounding businesses.”
With the help of spirited, yet silent bidding, the fire department earned $3,300 that will go toward upcoming expenses, like adding a new Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
“Our first priority is to purchase Life Flight Insurance Coverage for all our volunteer firefighters and their immediate family,” said Williams.
People brought a wide array of dishes to the potluck, from casseroles to desserts. Bundled in jackets, the line formed quickly for the buffet and every seat was soon filled with people and plates showcasing an assortment of homemade food.
Children and adults were treated to door prizes every 20 minutes, and names were drawn for the raffles. The winner of the Henry .44 Mag Rifle and Lead Sled was Chris Smith, and the winner of the Super 1 Foods $500 gift certificate, and Casino Spa & Dinner Package, was William Gutknecht.
Throughout the event, people walked over to the firefighters, whether they were a stranger to them or an old friend, and shook their hand, or gave them a hug, thanking them. Some told stories of when they had been helped by the department, whether it was a fire, car accident, or in some other way.
“I am proud to be part of this community. It never ceases to amaze me how many people show up to give us their support,” said Hall Mountain Volunteer Firefighter Wally Nyberg. “We are truly blessed to do our endeavors in a volunteering way and have the community support us.”
The community proved that although they may not need, or even think about, their local fire department every day, when called upon, they turned out in great numbers to show thanks to the people who volunteer to keep their community safe.
“This is an awesome community,” said Hall Mountain Fire Chief Brad Lowther. “They support us and we support them, and it just keeps getting better — it really does.”