Thursday, April 15, 2004

Fund raising is ramped up

Two weekends of events can help build firefighter tribute

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Bobbleheads like these, signed by Marty and Joe, are among items up for bid this weekend at an auction-garage sale.
ANDERSON TWP. - Promoters of a firefighters memorial are holding a fire sale of sorts this weekend of donated items and a benefit next weekend.

Among items up for bid: baseballs and twin bobbleheads autographed by Cincinnati Reds announcers Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall and a football signed by former Cincinnati Bengal Anthony Munoz.

There also will be a piano, an organ, groceries from Kroger, furniture and toys, said firefighter Mark Owens, chairman of the Anderson Township Firefighters Memorial Committee.

The Anderson Township Fireman's Association is hosting the two fund-raisers.

The community garage sale will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the fire station at 7954 Beechmont Ave. There also will be live music and food.

Rain would cancel the event on Friday, but would move it Saturday inside the Anderson Senior Center behind the firehouse.

Then, the association is holding a Las Vegas night from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. April 23 and 24 at the American Legion 318 Anderson Post, 7551 Forest Road.

So far, fund-raising efforts for the 7-foot-high bronze firefighter statue planned for Beech Acres Park have fallen a bit flat.

The firefighters need $200,000 but have raised just $60,000 since 2001.

A recent letter writing campaign to Greater Cincinnati corporations, with Brennaman's signature, didn't generate as many donations as expected. But the Anthony Munoz Foundation did give $1,000, Owens said, and at least two major corporations have made pledges.

Firefighters hope the public continues to support the cause so the memorial can be built.

"Over the past four years in Anderson Township, we have lost two firefighters who were paid men here," Owens said. "It's a personal experience to drape your badge in black, and you have your white gloves on and help to carry that casket."

The memorial will honor five firefighters who died in the line of duty or from a duty-related injury or illness since the Anderson fire department was formed in 1941.

Most recently, Lt. Ben Cunningham, a 28-year veteran, died in 2002 of work-related lung cancer. In 2001, firefighter William "Doc" Ellison died of injuries he sustained while fighting a fire with the Miami Township Fire Department in western Hamilton County, where he worked part time while working full time for Anderson.

To help, or more information, call the Anderson Township Fire Deparment: (513) 474-3151


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