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Tarentum #699 Donates $10,000 For Fire Training Room

During a regular Auxiliary meeting last February, Tarentum Eagles Auxiliary #699 decided as a group that they wanted to make a big impact in their local community. Looking for a large project to help fund, local firefighter Bill Williams from Citizens Hose Fire/Rescue/EMS told Auxiliary Treasurer Ruth Jordan about the station’s plan to build a fire safety training room.

Jordan then spoke with Station Chief Sean Jones about the project. Jones said the station had been wanting to build a training facility for a couple of years since there are no proper facilities in the area, and others are expensive and can be difficult to get access to. 

Collectively, the Auxiliary raised $10,000 in around 6 months for the project, which is their largest charitable donation to date.

“We did basket raffles, a trash and treasure sale, sold hoagies, but the biggest event was the spaghetti fundraiser, which raised $4,000,” Jordan said. “It was extremely nice to see the girls work together to reach out locally.”

What sparked the Auxiliary’s idea to help the community was its motive to raise awareness about the Eagles club.

“We wanted to do something to get the community to know that we existed… Something worthwhile and helpful for everyone,” Jordan said.

Now, thanks to the combined efforts of the Auxiliary members and the firefighters, Citizens Hose’s new training facility is essentially in their own back yard. The facility was constructed as a three-story house that was built inside their former storage room, attached to their fire hall. The house simulation has no windows, the interior is painted solid black, and the rooms can be filled with smoke from a fog machine.

Additionally, the training facility will allow Citizens Hose to cross train with the other 25 local stations. “Our facility rivals the surrounding training facilities in the area. It’s crazy to think we have that,” Jones said.

The training facility has a lot changeability. Fifty obstacles can be created, and each room is a maze which includes hazards like drop-down doors, moveable walls, and crawl spaces. The variety of obstacles helps to ensure training will not become too stagnant and provides a more realistic environment.

“As a 30 year veteran, this is the very first training room in Allegheny County to be built and used to train young and upcoming members on how to stop a fire and get used to the fundamentals,” firefighter Williams said.  

Building the training facility became more like a community effort. Materials such as wood, paint, and hangers were donated by the local stores.

The station was also very involved with the fundraising efforts put on by Auxiliary #699. The firemen helped by selling tickets, providing their social hall and allowing full use of their state-of-the-art kitchen for the successful Spaghetti Dinner event.

Jordan is very proud of all the Auxiliary members for accomplishing their large goal.

“I knew in my heart they could do it. They are an awesome team of ladies who have worked hard for a lot of people,” Jordan said, “You’d be surprised at what you can achieve when everyone works together.”

Chief Jones and the firefighters of Citizens Hose showed their gratitude by surprising each of the ladies with a red rose, and gave the club a fireman’s helmet that read Tarentum Eagles Ladies Auxiliary #699. A dedicated plaque for the Auxiliary was also placed outside the safety training room.

“It was a pleasure working with the Auxiliary. I have nothing but positive things to say,” Jones commented. “We want them to join the fireman auxiliary to continue to build our relationship.”

Having accomplished their goal, Tarentum Auxiliary #699 plans on challenging themselves this year by setting new goals. They are currently raising $4,400 for a local child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They also are planning a prom gown giveaway, where they will distribute 250 dresses.

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The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.

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