The event serves as an important fundraising effort for the Patchogue Fire Department, as well as a family-friendly good time for attendees.
Patchogue, NY - July 31, 2018 - In August, Patchogue residents looking for a fun time - in addition to a great cause to support - should make sure to mark their calendars when the Patchogue Fire Department Union Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 Annual Carnival returns to St. Joseph's College in Patchogue from August 9 through August 12. The event serves as an important fundraising effort for fire department volunteers, a recruitment drive to help
bolster their ranks, and way for the local community to get together for an evening of games, rides, food, music, and much more.
The historic Patchogue Fire Department – which consists of four companies – was first formed in 1880 and has steadfastly protected its residents every day since then, according past Chief and 38-year department veteran George Grauer.
The Patchogue Fire Department puts their lives on the line for the sake of the communities that they serve every day. Photo Credit: Patchogue Fire Department
In recent years, however, fire departments throughout Long Island have been running into an issue that has threatened the good work they do for their communities; a reduction of both recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. The problem driving this issue lies behind the steadily rising cost of living associated with living on Long Island, which often necessitates families to work more than one job; this often leaves precious little time for civic-minded activities such as volunteering for your local fire department, Grauer said. Also adding to the problem are another segment of the population who are moving out of New York altogether in hopes of finding a more affordable life elsewhere.
“A lot of the old-timers just worked one job, and a lot of our members worked locally, and they would just come out and go to fires from there. But now, a lot of people can't afford to live on Long Island, so they're moving to places like Florida where they can actually afford to live,” he said. “And the membership is also going down because the people that stay here are being forced to work two jobs or more in order to survive in New York. So they have less time for the commitment to the fire department, along with the training and the other requirements. With the new standards for being a firefighter, a lot of people just don't have the time anymore.”
The Patchogue Fire Department is richly steeped in history, having served its community since its inception in 1880. Photo Credit: Patchogue Fire Department
In order to combat these issues and increase the number of volunteers in their ranks, the Patchogue Fire Department has been pulling out all the stops in order to attract the next generation of firefighters. One way they see fit to achieve that goal is through the Union Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 Annual Carnival running from August 9 through August 12, which will serve both an opportunity for recruitment of fresh blood to the department, as well as an important fundraising effort.
“We've been holding this fundraiser on-and-off for the past 10 years at St. Joseph's College...the money that we raise is for things that taxpayers can't pay for,” Grauer said. “For example, taxpayers can't buy us shirts and coats unless they’re uniforms, they can't take us out to dinner, or sometimes we like to go on trips or to baseball games...all things that we use as a ‘thank you’ to the volunteers in our department for offering up their time and effort to help safeguard the community.”
The carnival serves both as a way to attract potential new members, as well as an important fundraiser for the department itself. Photo Credit: Patchogue Fire Department
The Union Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 Annual Carnival will feature a plethora of exciting and family-friendly activities that no self-respecting carnival would be without, such as a variety of hair-raising rides, games of skill and chance, a wide selection of mouth-watering food, and more prizes than you can shake a stick at. In addition, there will also be many interactive activities for youngsters as well, like fire prevention lessons, a real-live fire truck to explore, and fingerprinting provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office.
Thursday, August 9: 5pm-10pm
Friday, May 25: 5pm-11pm
Saturday, May 26: 5pm-11pm
Sunday, May 27: 5pm-9pm
The carnival is the Patchogue Fire Department’s main recruitment every year, but it’s hardly their only one; Grauer noted that whenever they’re out and about, he and his fellow members are always looking for dedicated members of the community who would serves as excellent additions to the department.
Photo Credit: Patchogue Fire Department
Grauer said that he still vividly recalls the day nearly 40 years ago when he first strolled through the doors of the Patchogue Fire Department as the spry, young age of 18 and offered his services in an effort to help safeguard his community; he’s been with them ever since, and considers his lifetime of servitude to his friends and neighbors the highest calling that any man or woman can answer to. He extended an invitation to the Patchogue community to attend the Union Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 Annual Carnival this August 9-12 and have a great time, and while there give serious thought to standing beside the brave members of the Patchogue Fire Department as a volunteer as well.
“I've been doing this since 1980…I got involved with the firefighting aspect of it and I've grown to want to help the community, and every other community that I go through. When you’re driving down the road and you see an accident, you instinctively want to get out and help, and it doesn't matter what town you're in,” Grauer said. “You're always a public servant, and you're there to help the taxpayers. We have a pension fund now, but I would have done it for free. It means a lot to me to give back to the community, and I really encourage people to come on down to the carnival, and to give serious consideration to joining up with the Patchogue Fire Department.”