Volunteer Firefighters’ commemorative brick fundraiser exceeds expectations

dsc04008The facility improvements have been made, the landscaping is complete and finally, the last commemorative bricks have been laid: the Arbuckle Fire Station’s makeover is complete.
Initially, the proposed improvements to the facility were simply to bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thanks to the vision of Arbuckle-College City Fire Department CFO Kristy Santucci, however, the project became a source community pride, an extension of the revitalization efforts of downtown Arbuckle, and an opportunity to raise funds for the Arbuckle Volunteer Firefighters. On all fronts, the project was a resounding success.
In keeping with the feel of downtown Arbuckle, the original landscaping plans for the exterior of the station included a good deal of brickwork. That incorporation of those bricks into the renovation plans opened the door for Santucci’s commemorative brick fundraiser.
“It was really her idea, and it worked great. As a fire commissioner, I think it’s fantastic that we are improving our facility and being a part of community pride there. It’s nice to get involved with the revitalization of Arbuckle — to freshen up our facility — and to involve the community at the same time,” said Michael Doherty, vice-chair of the Arbuckle-College City Fire Protection District.
It was win-win for the community and the Volunteer Firefighters: Community members had the opportunity to leave their permanent mark on Station 51, and the volunteer firefighters — who rely exclusively on donations from and the support of the community — were able to raise a nice chunk of change. An added bonus? It looks pretty darn cool, too.
“That looks pretty sharp with all the brickwork around the flagpole there, doesn’t it?” Doherty said.
As for Santucci, she said she couldn’t be happier with the results of the project.
“We’re extremely satisfied,” she said. “We didn’t do any marketing at all, it was just word-of-mouth. We were hesitant to go out and advertise it, because this community gives so much already.”
Santucci added she would have considered the fundraiser a success if they had sold 150 of the commemorative bricks. The final numbers blew her away.
“We thought that (150) would be exceptional, especially considering it was just word-of-mouth,” she said. “We ended up selling just under 270. It was almost split in half between the four-by-four and eight-by-eight bricks… We more than doubled our expectations off the event for profits.”
The money raised from the project has been earmarked to purchase a Polaris UTV, which will be used in field rescues and will be the department’s only true four-wheel drive apparatus, Santucci said.
“It ended up producing a really awesome new apparatus that our department otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to use. If it just saves one life, it’s totally worth it,” she said.
Beyond the money raised, Santucci added that organizing the fundraiser was a personally rewarding experience, in and of itself.
“About a quarter of the bricks were designed online, but about three-quarters of the community who bought bricks came into office, sat down with me, and most them ended up designing custom artwork for these bricks. I got to meet many families,” she said. “They came in there, and it was a fun process — easy and simple. Others may have had the artwork, but it wasn’t in a format it could be reproduced. For other people, it was a neat project for them as a tribute to someone who passed. We would have brain storming sessions… and came up with some pretty cool stuff.”

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net