(MITCHELL) – The Mitchell Fire Department’s Annual Fish Fry is not used as a fundraiser but as a way to bring a community together.
“We have businesses in Mitchell that support our fish fry. We use this fish fry to allow the community to visit and talk among friends,” said Tyler Duncan, Mitchell Fire Department Fire Chief.
The Fish Fry is attended every year by not just those people that live in Mitchell but by many individuals who live throughout Lawrence County. Residents from Fayetteville, Springville, and Bedford attended the event on Saturday evening.
Mitchell Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary sold desserts and beverages at the fish fry to support their efforts.
The Mitchell Fire Department has had a busy year with more than 738 runs. Most of those calls were emergency medical assistance calls. This compares to only 100 runs when Fire Chief Duncan first started in the department back in 1987.
The department has 15 members who respond to emergencies in the city. In addition, they started a junior firefighter program to keep youth interested in volunteer firefighting.
In order to be a firefighter, it takes 4 modules of course work and practical exercises and takes between six to eight months to complete.
This year’s fish fry has been bittersweet when they lost Gary Hancock, a 47 year veteran of the fire department. Hancock died from cancer earlier this year.
“Gary taught me everything I know about firefighting and this year’s fish fry was very difficult not having my friend around,” Duncan said.
To honor Hancock, the new fire engine was numbered 705, Hancock’s unit number. The engine is now in service and ready to respond to fires. Grant money from Hoosier Uplands helped purchase some equipment for the truck.
“We like to add a few more pieces of equipment. But the engine has been responding to calls,” Duncan added.
Duncan’s goal for the department is to seek more members, especially with the high volume of calls the department now responds to.