Once annually, for over 20 years, there’s smoke bellowing from the grounds of the Medfield Fire Department and that's a good thing.
As a group of firefighters kept a keen eye on a smoking barbecue pit, customers began to trickle in, ready for a tasty treat. And they weren’t disappointed, as the Medfield Fire Fighter’s once-a-year barbecue served up a summertime treat of barbecued-chicken, complete with all the “fixing’s.”
“We’ll serve about 500 meals today,” said MFD spokesperson Dave O’Toole, “between eating here and take-out.”
The barbecue, held on June 18, featured chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, rolls and cranberry sauce at budget-friendly prices.
Proceeds from the annual event go to the Firefighters Relief Association, a local fund whose mission is to aid firefighters injured while in the performance of their duties. In addition, a portion of the proceeds is earmarked for the Home Committee, which provides meals for senior citizens during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. “At Thanksgiving,” O’Toole said, “we delivered about 72 meals.”
The MFD also donates to Relay For Life and provides two scholarships for graduating Medfield High School seniors, each year. Money raised from the barbecue also goes towards the upkeep for several antique pieces of firefighting equipment, which the department owns.
The antiques include a vintage 1927 Seagrave Fire Engine, designated Medfield Engine 1, which is stored at the Fire Department barn. The engine is brought out for special occasions, including Medfield’s Fourth of July parade.
“There’s also [an antique] hand-pump,” O’Toole said. “Somebody called us and told us it was being stored in a barn, in Norton. A local person gave a sizable donation, which helped us purchase it.”
While the antique engine and hand-pump were stored in a crowded barn, the fire station itself was cleared of vehicles, which were replaced with a number of tables, set up for family dining. In addition, there were two tents set up on the grounds for those who preferred to take advantage of the day’s pleasant weather.
Approximately 12-14 firefighters took part in the event; some providing set-up services beforehand, while the remainder were involved with the cooking and serving of meals. Family members were also there to lend a hand.
“Some of the guy’s kids are down there now, putting on tablecloths” O'Toole said, pointing towards the outdoor set-up. “Mine are coming up later.”
The event started at 4:30 p.m. with a small number of customers filing in. Soon, however, cars began to pull into the adjacent parking lot as residents began to flock to the firehouse for their share of a summertime tradition.