In the shadow of its 91st year, the annual Williams Firemen’s Ball will be discontinued this year, as the Williams Volunteer Firefighters Association cites poor attendance, and an increase time demand for volunteer firefighter training.
“Considering declining attendance as well as a variety of other issues arising in recent years , the Williams Volunteer Fire Fighter’s Association regretfully has decided to discontinue the long-running tradition of the Fireman’s Ball,” said Williams Volunteer Firefighters Association Chairman, Rex Mayes in a press release.
Additionally, community members can expect their doorbells to ring silent this Sunday, December 7th as Volunteer Firefighters will not be going door-to-door selling tickets.
“The Williams Volunteer Firefighter’s Association wishes to thank the residents of the fire district for the generous donations this event has raised over many decades,” said Mayes, “for many years, the Fireman’s Ball was the sole fundraiser of the volunteer association.”
Mayes also commented that during the 1990’s the organization added two additional fundraising events to address the rising costs of operations.
“We began hosting the annual Pheasant Hunt, and Sportsman’s Night,” said Mayes, “these events have been very successful and have become sold out events raising thousands of dollars which the Volunteers have used primarily to purchase much needed equipment and improvements when the Fire District funds have fallen short.”
In addition to a decline in attendance, Mayes added that volunteers struggle with the considerable amount of time for firefighting duties, family, work, and their civil service commitments with the fire department.
“Over recent years the fire service has mandated higher training standards for volunteers,” said Mayes, “while this is intended to help ensure firefighters and first responders are better skilled and able to effect safer responses to emergencies, it also demands more time of the firemen.”
In 2010, the Citizens for a Better Williams assisted the Williams Firefighters Association by helping decorate the Old Gym for the event.
“I am disappointed that there will no longer be the Firemen’s Dance,” said a Williams Community member, “however, I have not been to one in quite a few years.”
Mayes added that the Williams Volunteer Firefighters Association will continue to host the tradition of Santa visiting the Williams Fire Hall on Christmas Eve.
“We look forward to seeing you there and we wish all of the residents of the Williams Fire Protection District a wonderful and Happy Holiday season,” said Mayes.
Santa is expected to arrive at the Williams Fire Department at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24, 2014.