On Saturday, July 17th, John H. Enders Fire and Rescue Squad is holding its 60th Annual Yard Party and Auction today at the fire station in Berryville. The yard sale starts at 9:00 A.M. and meal will be served at 4:30 P.M. with an auction following at 5:30.
Auction items include a wide range of donation from the community including bicycles, sporting goods, clothing, a vehicle and even a tractor. Proceeds from the sale of the donations go towards the Enders fire and rescue squad’s operational budget.
Unlike many of Virginia’s urban localities that directly fund fire and rescue operations, Enders and other Clarke County fire companies receive only a portion of their budget from county coffers. The majority of the operating funds come from community donations and fund raisers.
Enders volunteer and 2nd Fire Lieutenant Brian Crim says that a large portion of Enders annual operating budget is generated from the yard sale. “It’s our biggest source of support. People drop off donations and we sell the items on Saturday here at the station house.”
Crim said that instead of items being individually priced beforehand, customers select an item and then make an offer on the purchase price. That’s when haggling can sometimes happen.
“If we feel like the value if higher than what’s being offered then we make a counter offer,” Crim explained. If a deal can’t be reached Crim said that a hopeful purchaser can always leave a bid on the item and purchase it at the end of the sale if no one offers more.
Crim said that higher value items are set aside to be sold later at the auction. A quick survey of potential auction items included a low-mileage 1989 Dodge Dynasty, a high mileage Farmall Model “M” tractor as well as an original oil painting by local artist Ermaline Lewis of the now-demolished Berryville train depot.
Crim, who has volunteered with the Enders fire company for 24 years said that he, like most of the other members, volunteer their time and personal safety for the personal satisfaction of helping the community.
“The only compensation that a fire company member receives is 50% off the property tax for the vehicle that they use to get to the fire station,” Crim said.
Enders Fire all-volunteer company plays an important daily role in the safety of Berryville and Clarke County by responding to over 300 fire calls and 1,300 medical emergencies a year. A professional emergency medical technician is at the station 24-hours a day.
While more urban communities closer to Washington have had difficulty maintaining volunteer fire and rescue operations (Loudoun and Fairfax fire and rescue are now staffed primarily by paid employees) Enders continues to attract new recruits.
“We’ve had 20 new members join in the last five months,” Crim said. “Nine new guys are in fire fighting class today.”
Crim and his family exemplify the community spirit that has made Enders Fire Company such a vital part of the Clarke County community over the years.
“My dad has been a member here since 1963 and I’ve been volunteering since I was 15 years old. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins have also been volunteers over the years. I really love being involved.”
Crim’s 24th anniversary with the company is August 17th.
Today’s event offers something for everyone. The cost for lunch is $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for children. Kids under 6 eat for free when accompanied by an adult meal. Enders will be serving BBQ chicken, country ham, chicken salad, its “famous” baked beans, cole slaw, drinks, and homemade deserts.
The station will be open for tours and is offering free fire truck rides.