Volunteer fire department receives big check

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Thanks to local merchants, the Driver Volunteer Fire Department has an extra $13,800 in its coffers today.

Organizers of Drivers Days – the merchants’ annual fall fundraiser for the fire department – turned proceeds from Oct. 25-26 event to the department on Monday.

Email newsletter signup

This year’s contribution is approximately $5,000 more than received last year.

&uot;Driver Days was a big success this year, even with the muggy weather we had on Sunday,&uot; said Driver’s Assistant Chief Bill Elliott. &uot;It was spectacular.

&uot;The money is going to be a big help to us this year.&uot;

The money isn’t earmarked for a specific project, he said. The department will use part of the money to cover expenses incurred during Hurricane Isabel, including a $2,400 engine repair and unexpected food and water expenses.

&uot;The storm created lot of extra costs for us, …some of which will not be reimbursed by FEMA,&uot; he said.

Jason Gould, who with his father owns Rio Grande Traders, said the big name entertainers brought a record number of people to Driver Days.

&uot;I’ve never seen a crowd like this out here,&uot; Gould said.

Perhaps the weekend’s biggest draw was Ben Jones – better known simply as Cooter to fans of the long-running 1970s show, &uot;The Dukes of Hazard&uot; – and the show’s famous souped-up orange car, The General Lee.

&uot;He made a lot of people happy,&uot; Gould said. &uot;He didn’t just sign autographs and send them on their way. He actually sat down and talked to them.&uot;

National recording artist, Robbin Thompson, who performed on Sunday, was also a tremendous crowd pleaser, he added.

During the community’s smaller annual spring festival, Gould said, the focus will be on raising money to bring another big-name entertainer.

&uot;We’ve found that having some kind of celebrity entertainment gives us bragging rights,&uot; he said. &uot;People want to come out and see them.&uot;