Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Bob Rose, the corresponding secretary for the Odenton Fire Company, said that the cancellation of multiple fundraising events due to coronavirus hurt the OFC, but an outpouring of public support through a mail-in campaign has helped the department recoup some of its shortfall.
He said the shortfall was a concern, but not critical.
“I would say probably because of the pandemic. our bailout fund raiser has probably been more successful than than ever, at least that I can remember,” said Rose, who became a firefighter for the department in 1973, “It hasn't made up for 100% of the loss of income from other things, but it's been very good. So it was a very pleasant surprise to us. And I think it shows the appreciation and the generosity of the of the community. You know, and they see us out there. They see the fire trucks go up and down the road, and, you know, they see what we're doing,”
He said the Odenton Fire Company, part of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department’s system of stations, has around 100 firefighters. The station is manned entirely by volunteers with the exception of professional equipment drivers.
Three of the Odenton company’s main fundraisers were canceled or put on hold due to the pandemic. Those were the yearly community carnival, which is normally the station’s main money raiser, along with stipends given for use of the station hall, and renting out the grounds for a food truck events, which was canceled for two months.
Anne Arundel County also pays the station a yearly stipend which provides for operating costs of the station each year. But equipment and infrastructure upgrades have been paid by fundraising.
The station has a rescue pumper and a ladder truck. The bill for that equipment is entirely footed through community support.
“They (Anne Arundel County) provide maintenance and fuel, but they don't buy them,” Rose said. “The ladder. ladder truck, as an example, is probably over 10 years old. When we bought it, it costs well over $745,000 now, If we bought it now it would be quickly approaching a million dollars,. We’ll need a replacement in about 10 or 12 more years. The last engine we bought is I want to say is approximately six or eight years old now. And it was over $500,000.”
Rose went on to say that the company renovated the station’s living quarter several years ago for around $750,000. which was paid for with a low interest loan. The $27,000 loan payment for that renovation comes due annually, he said.
The station was built in 1943. There was an additional renovation done back in the 1970’s. It is also a 501c3 charitable organization.
While the food truck events have started back up, Rose said the hall is not yet available to the public. He said normally it was used several time’s a month for children’s birthday parties.
“It's really kind of a shame as kids can’t visit,” he said.
He mentioned though that the regular business of the station had been pretty steady. According to him it's among the busiest in the county other than those in the Glen Burnie area.
Rose reflected on how close and interdependent the relationship of the men and women of the Odenton Fire Company is with the larger community.
“We're there for the community,” he said. “We're part of the community, the vast majority of our members live right in the immediate community. They're there to serve the community and the community helps us and they look out for us. So it's a two way street. We're all in it together.”
To find out more about the Odenton Fire Company, or to donate go to https://www.ovfc28.org/