It was around 1965 when the first chicken barbeque fundraiser for the Fort Lewis Volunteer Fire Department took place.
At the time, the thought process was to create an annual event that would raise money to purchase much needed equipment. Fifty plus years later, the barbeque fundraiser is as popular as ever.
On May 4, between 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., over 100 guests paid $9.00 to support the event. Each ticket purchased came with a roll, potato salad, a chicken breast and a variety of beverage options. Proceeds will go towards the operating budget for the department, including training, safety, fire prevention and equipment.
“We now do this event twice a year – at the beginning of May and the beginning of September. We’ve been lucky that only a handful of times we have been rained on,” event organizer Michael Glass said. “It’s my job to line up the barbeque, and I’ve been doing that for over 30 years.”
Those who regularly attend the fundraiser say that it’s always an enjoyable experience.
“I’ve been coming here for years, and I still don’t quite know what they put in their sauce,” Brad Stuckey said with a smile. “I don’t know many better places to get barbeque chicken around this time of the year.”
Preparation for last Saturday’s event started at the beginning of April. Glass says approximately 1,400 chickens required roughly 40 gallons of sauce.
Few things bring name Glass more joy than witnessing the community come together for a great cause.
“The money that we are able to raise from this event each year allows us to buy much needed equipment. Right now, we are trying to get some of the guys some new gear. Roanoke County only allows for so much, then we have to buy our own,” he said. “I think I speak for everyone when I say that the Salem community has gone above and beyond with their willingness to volunteer and contribute financially. Everyone at the department is grateful.”