The annual Firemen’s Ball has been put on for so long, nobody can quite recall the year of the first one.
The Forest Lake Fire & Rescue Department Relief Association has hosted the dance for decades. It will be held Saturday, March 31 at American Legion Post 225, 355 W. Broadway Ave., Forest Lake. Doors open at 7 p.m. The Tim Sigler Band will provide live music starting at 8 p.m.
“At one time this was a social event,” said Engineer Pat Parenteau. “Now it’s become a fundraiser,” he added.
He and Captain Eric Johnson said the key to the success of the Firemen’s Ball are donations from Forest Lake businesses for the raffles. Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods and Walmart have allowed the fire department to sell tickets outside their stores, they noted.
Admission is $10 or $8 for active military personnel. Tickets can be purchased from any member of the Forest Lake Fire Department and at Post 225.
The Relief Association has spent 10s of thousands of dollars to supplement what’s not typically covered under the normal operating budget allocated by the Forest Lake City Council. Proceeds from previous dances have been used to purchase equipment including: a thermal imaging camera, rescue air bags, a floating pump to assist in remote areas for wildland fires, extrication gloves and safety glasses, cribbing, and a stove for Station No. 1 on SW 4th Street; pay for training and other non-funded projects.
On the department’s wish list are certified outside trainers for specialty training, trench rescue equipment and training to supplement Forest Lake’s confined space rescue equipment, Mustang dry suits for ice water rescues, and a commercial dryer to replace the existing residential unit that is used for drying turnout gear.
To make a donation or to purchase tickets, contact Eric Johnson at 651-775-6199 or Pat Parenteau at 651-402-6640.