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Marengo VFD hopes for best Crusade effort yet

May 21, 2008
It's that time of year again, and the Marengo Liberty Volunteer Fire Department needs the public's help.

Beginning Friday, Marengo firefighters and volunteers will man the four-way stop at the intersection of state roads 64 and 66, collecting donations for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

Last year was a record-setting effort for the fire department, as it collected some $12,000, and MLVFD Chief Phil Jones and Ed Conway, the department's Crusade coordinator, are aiming for an even higher total this year.

In addition to three weekends of roadblocks, the fire department will host a "Crusade Night" at the firehouse on Saturday, June 7, before taking its collection to the Crusade live remote site at Corydon the next morning.

The special evening will begin at 6 p.m. with singing from area churches, as well as MLVFD firefighters Fred Higgens and Aaron Bye, in addition to hot dogs and sodas. Then, around 8, the real fun will begin.

"We're going to have some volunteers who are going to have a pie smacked in their face," Conway said.

For $2 a pie, people will be able to toss a whipped cream pie at several volunteers. So far, Jones and Conway have agreed to "taste" the pies, as have Crawford County sheriff's deputies Jeff Howell, Shawn Scott and Andy Beals and Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Kent Barrow.

Others, including Marengo Town Council members, area ministers and elected county officials have been invited to participate.

"Anybody that's in the pie-throwing they will have plenty of water with the hose here to wash them off," Jones joked.

Besides being a fundraiser, the evening will serve as a thank-you for everyone who gives a donation to the Crusade or volunteers at the roadblocks.

The roadblocks will be each Friday and Saturday for the next three weeks, with this weekend's schedule also including Sunday and Monday because of it being Memorial Day weekend. Volunteers will serve two-hour shifts from 4 to 8 p.m. on the Fridays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the other days.

In addition to the firefighters and volunteers, Sparky the Firedog will be at the roadblocks to entertain children and adults who are young at heart.

Jones, who estimated he has been involved with 15 of the fire department's more than 20 Crusade fundraising efforts, said the MLVFD was extremely happy with not only breaking its record last year, but doing it by the amount that it did. The previous high amount was about $10,000, he said.

"It's a really great community effort for our fire department to do," Jones said, adding the money collected has helped several children in the county.

Conway, who is also pastor at Cedar Street Baptist Church in Marengo, said it's always special working the roadblocks or visiting someone and they share how the Crusade has helped them.

"In other words, it's right in our backyard," he said.

"I'd really like to thank the community for their support over the years," Jones added.

Those who would like to volunteer for the pie-throwing or the roadblocks may call the firehouse at 365-9002, Jones at 365-3200 or Conway at 365-2177. Volunteers will receive a 2008 Crusade shirt while supplies last.

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