Upcoming fund raiser is rooted in history
On March 22, the Elmer City Firemen will be holding their annual Ham and Pancake Feed at the Coulee Dam City Hall from 4 to 8 p.m. This brought to mind an article published in The Star in the early 1970s concerning the origins of the Elmer City Fire Department.
In 1945, John Michaud was Elmer City’s first fire chief. Their fundraising consisted of going door to door requesting donations. For a monetary donation, each person received a ticket to a ham and pancake dinner cooked by the members of the fire department.
The department finally saved enough money to buy a 1936 Indiana fire truck from the city of Grand Coulee for $640. They were fortunate enough to receive donated equipment from the Coulee Dam and Grand Coulee Fire Departments. They have also had the good fortune to have members who know how to weld and do mechanical repair work to keep their older equipment in good working order.
The 1936 fire truck was eventually parted out, but the department has a tank built in the 1960s by a member and still in use today. They have never had a brand new truck, but they do a great job with what they have.
Okanogan Fire District 2, under current Fire Chief David Finch, serves families living in the Lone Pine, Elmer City, Koontzville, Seatons Grove, Belevedere, Buffalo Lake and McGinnis Lake areas. They try to keep their membership at or near 25 firemen.
Their budget comes from tax monies, a stipend from the town of Elmer City, and money from the Colville Tribes for structure safety when wildland fires burn in their district. The money raised from the pancake feed is prioritized each year to cover some piece of equipment or gear they find they are in need of.
Okanogan Fire District #2, or the Elmer City Fire Department, now has members who are fourth generation firemen in the town. Their main fund raiser is still their delicious pancake feed. It is enjoyable seeing these men and women out of their “turnout” gear and in aprons serving ham and frying eggs while visiting with friends and neighbors. After 69 years, the Elmer City Firemen are still hard at work selling tickets door to door, flipping pancakes, and, most importantly, protecting their district when fires occur.