March 19 event a ‘souper’ way to support firefighters

March 19 event a ‘souper’ way to support firefighters

Image Credit: Ellen Pill

Western Holmes County Fire District will hold its annual soup and salad supper on Saturday, March 19. Everyone is invited to the drive-thru event to enjoy a variety of soups, salads and desserts while supporting area first responders.

Started over 20 years ago as a fundraising spaghetti dinner, the event has evolved to become a meal of soup and salad. While usually a sit-down event, last year the department shifted to a drive-thru meal. This year also will be drive-thru only.

“We got a lot of good feedback last year about the drive-thru style,” Western Holmes Assistant Chief Trisha Kick said. “People appreciated not having to get out of their car.”

The drive-thru is set up so the community gets an opportunity to drive through the fire department bays to pick up their order.

The menu will include six soups: chicken noodle, potato, ham and bean, chili, broccoli cheese and vegetarian. Attendees are invited to choose more than one soup. Accompanying the soup entree will be side salads, rolls, cornbread and a variety of desserts including pie, cake and cupcakes. Food is provided and served by the fire department staff and families.

The supper has no set price and is a pay-what-you-wish donation. All proceeds go directly to the fire department.

“My goal,” Kick said, “is to give all our people new reflective winter jackets.”

Fundraiser proceeds are always used to enhance the firefighters’ and EMTs’ ability to serve the community, whether through providing equipment, gear and uniforms or to help with building or vehicle maintenance.

Western Holmes County Fire District has two stations — one in Nashville and another in Lakeville. The response area encompasses over 90 square miles and includes the following townships: Knox, Ripley, Washington, some of Lake, a small portion of Monroe, and the village of Nashville.

“We run between the two stations,” Kick said. “We’re one department, and we have two stations.”

Between the two stations, the department runs approximately 500 calls per year, according to Kick. “And that number is steadily increasing,” she said.

Started in the 1950s as two separate departments, they merged as one in 1988 to become Western Holmes County Fire District. The department was originally entirely volunteer and remained volunteer until last year when they became staffed for the first time in July 2021. There are now two full-time employees, as well as several part-timers who fill in. The staff rotates between the Nashville and Lakeville locations: Monday and Wednesday staffing Lakeville, Tuesday and Thursday at Nashville, and Fridays rotate. Staffed hours are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All other times are covered by volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

“We have approximately 53 volunteers on our roster, with only 15 holding EMS certifications,” Kick said.

Some of these volunteers are firefighters, some EMTs and some dual certified.

Kick said the department is always recruiting volunteers who live within eight minutes of either station. While they prefer volunteers be dual certified, they also accept individuals who are interested in only fire or only emergency medicine.

Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering with the Western Holmes County Fire District is invited to email for more information.

Cash donations are accepted throughout the year. Like many fire departments, Western Holmes relies on fundraising and donations to keep the stations running smoothly, to keep first responders as safe as possible and to enable the department to best serve the community.

To donate, mail a check to Western Holmes County Fire District, P.O. Box 370, Nashville, OH 44661.

In addition to the upcoming supper, the department holds two chicken dinners — one in May and one in September. Details are available on Facebook prior to the events.

The Western Holmes County Fire District soup and salad supper will be held Saturday, March 19 from 4-7 p.m. at the Lakeville Station, 13979 state Route 226, Lakeville.

What would be Kick’s dream if the department were to receive a large donation?

“I’d add lodging to the station,” she said. “We have no sleeping quarters.”

If the addition ever came to fruition, it would enable the station to have round-the-clock staffing — and that would be a big win for the community it serves.

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