Fire and ice

Published 1:02 am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department auxiliary members (from left) Lori Avery, Michelle Dixon and J.C. Burnette make pancakes during a recent fundraising event. The department will host a barbecued-pork-and-chicken-dinner fundraiser Saturday. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

Auxiliary supports Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department

CHOCOWINITY — Usually, behind every good fire department there is a loyal and industrious auxiliary, and that certainly is the case in Chocowinity.

Founded three years ago, the auxiliary is comprised of spouses, parents and friends of active firefighters, along with several members of the community at large, according to Michelle Dixon, its current president. Dixon’s husband, Brian, is Chocowinity’s assistant fire chief.

“Anybody can join the auxiliary. … You don’t have to have anyone in the fire department,” Dixon said. “It’s important to support our firefighters as they serve and protect our community.”

To that end, the auxiliary volunteers are active in a variety of fundraising endeavors. Recently, they hosted a pancake-and-sausage supper; next on the agenda is a barbecue-pork-and-chicken dinner, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Tickets for that event are $7 each, Dixon said.

Also on the docket is a holiday arts-crafts bazaar, planned for Nov. 19 after Chocowinity’s Christmas parade. Vendor space is available for rent, and anyone interested in taking part in the show is encouraged to call Regina Elks at 252-945-0601 or contact her via email at

Bake sales, spaghetti suppers, yard sales and the sales of kitchen cutlery round out the auxiliary’s fundraising efforts. And each spring, members help out with the Down East Rods & Classics car show in Chocowinity.

One goal of the auxiliary is to raise enough money to purchase a generator for the fire department; the need for such an item became apparent in the wake of Hurricane Irene. The fire department serves as headquarters for emergency-management personnel, and they use the building to distribute supplies, according to Brian Dixon.

Another item on the auxiliary shopping list is an ice machine. Why an ice machine?

The fire department is the site of various community functions, Michelle Dixon explained. In the past, Southside High School has used the building for a fundraiser, and individuals and groups may host birthday parties and other celebrations there. The building is offered free of charge – and that includes the use of tables, chairs and kitchen equipment – but donations are appreciated, Dixon said. The addition of an ice machine would mean that anyone using the building would not have to go elsewhere to purchase ice.

And a plentiful supply of ice at any hour of the day or night would come in handy for fire calls. Along with supporting the fire department through fundraising efforts, the auxiliary stands by during emergencies, offering firefighters cold beverages, ice and snacks as they perform their volunteer duties, Dixon said.

“When firefighters do controlled burns, we feed them lunch, and when they’re out on long calls, we’re there to support them,” she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department auxiliary can call 252-229-8286 for details. The auxiliary meets the third Tuesday of each month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the fire department. For more information, visit the auxiliary’s Facebook page.