Photo courtesy of Mr. Jeff Cline. Article via The Herald Mail
Twenty-eight area public-safety and community organizations received more than $173,000 in proceeds Tuesday from the 2015 Bonanza Extravaganza.
The 10th annual two-day event brought thousands of people to the Hagerstown Speedway in May. This year marks the largest distribution of funding from the Bonanza Extravaganza in its history, according to union officials.
"Every firefighter and police officer, we're on the streets, and we give every day," said John "Victor" Murray, president of the IAFF Local 1605 Foundation, which has distributed the funding each year since 2006. "This is just one other form of giving."
Among the recipients — announced during a special presentation at the Alice W. and David Fletcher Branch of the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown — were a number of local volunteer fire and EMS companies that have helped out since the event's inception.
The Williamsport and Maugansville fire departments, as well as Clear Spring Volunteer Fire and EMS, received $14,300 each.
Maugansville Goodwill Fire President Phil Ridenour said the funding each year is budgeted and used to offset the company's operational costs.
"We help sell tip jars during the event," he said. "The crews knew it was a good year and were excited to hear how much we were going to get."
Several awards focused on programs promoting fire safety and EMS efforts.
"One of the foundation's missions is to improve safety in the community," Murray said.
Additional recipients included band boosters, the Hagerstown Area Police Athletic League, Project Lifesaver and others, ranging from $750 to $11,500.
"It's very valuable," said David Glaze, president of Clear Spring Ambulance, which received a check for $3,800. "Every little bit counts. Any money that we get through fundraising and various stuff that we do throughout the community matters."
In addition to the grant awards, an additional $20,000 was given to 10 local students for college scholarships, union officials said.
Murray said the bonanza has continued to grow and the foundation, which organizes the event each year, is thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who have helped make it a success.
"We expect to grow the bonanza," he said. "We expect to reach out, branch out. And we're exploring other options — things we want to do to bring more people to this community."
The 11th annual Bonanza Extravaganza will take place on May 6 and 7 of next year.