ARLINGTON — The Getchell Firefighters Association’s annual pancake breakfast took on a collateral duty on Saturday, April 20, as the firefighters and emergency medical technicians of Getchell Fire Station 68 raised funds not only for themselves, but also for their fellow firefighters and EMTs in West, Texas, in the wake of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday, April 17.
“We were up late the night before deciding how to do this,” said Getchell Firefighters Association Public Information Officer Nat Burnett, who explained that the GFA would be matching up to $1,000 of the dollars donated by breakfast attendees. “We’re still determining the exact organizations that we want this routed through, but we know that we want it to go to the guys who were on the scene and fought the blaze, as well as the families of those whose perished doing their duty that day.”
Mitch Pearson, the firefighter and EMT who coordinated this year’s breakfast fundraiser, estimated that the more than 1,200 attendees between 7 a.m. and noon contributed at least $1,500 in exchange for freshly cooked pancakes, eggs and sausages, plus milk and other beverages, served up by a dozen firefighters and 17 applicants for their upcoming academy.
“That money usually gets devoted to something big during the year, like supplies or training,” said fellow firefighter/EMT Zack Smith. “I don’t believe that purchase has been determined for this year, but every contribution from the community helps since our budgets are down just like everyone else’s.”
Smith and Pearson agreed that the community has remained commendably supportive of this annual event, even in the midst of this year’s dreary downpour.
“I was expecting a lot less people due to the weather,” said Pearson, who reported that one breakfast attendee has shown up for pancakes and eggs five years in a row.
Pearson thanked National Foods for supplying the eggs, Silvana Meats for donating all the sausage links and Fred Meyer for providing the pancake batter. The Getchell Firefighters Association bought the beverages from Costco with their own money.
“All things told, it went pretty smoothly,” said Pearson, who coordinated the event for the first time this year.
Getchell Fire Station 68 is located at 8424 99th Ave. NE in Arlington. If you have questions, please call Fire Station 68 at 360-659-6400.