More than 70 percent of firefighters in the United States volunteer their time. And most volunteer fire departments rely on fundraiser's to stay in business.
The Star City Volunteer Fire Department is no different than any other. It operates solely on proceeds from fundraiser's it holds.
The Star City VFD is teamed up with a former police officer who buys people's gold to turn into cash for volunteer fire departments.
"These are usually how volunteer fire departments support themselves with fundraiser's," said Tony Amtower, a Duty Crew Officer and EMT at the Star City Volunteer Fire Department. "The community will come in and help us out. A lot of fire departments don't get much so we have to do fundraiser's to be able to support ourselves... To pay bills, buy new equipment, things like that."
The Star City Volunteer Fire Department brought in a Cash for Gold expert and former police officer to help with a fundraiser the weekend of December 28. R. Lee Goughnour works exclusively with fire departments in the surrounding area helping them raise money with Cash for Gold.
"I remember being at an accident scene by myself not being able to do everything that needed to be done and hearing the guys coming off in the distance," said Goughnour. "I was getting paid and they weren't and I wanted to help out in some way. And now this gives me an opportunity to help."
The kind of jewelry that Goughnour looks for are scrap gold and silver, broken chains, missing earring and watches.
The volunteer fire department will get 20 percent of the proceeds. They said they are going to use the money to get much needed new equipment. Bunker jackets, pants, boots and helmets are just a few of the necessities the fire department needs to replace.
"That's some of the stuff that helps us when we're inside of the fires. We call it our personal protective equipment," said Amtower. "It keeps the majority of the heat off. It is not fire proof but resists enough just for us to go in to either put the fire out rescue somebody out of a building anything like that."
They also say they will use some of the proceeds for new equipment for the trucks.
The fundraiser is at the Star City Volunteer Fire Department Friday, December 28 to December 30 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.