May 12, 2020
For Immediate Release
For Fire and Rescue, No G-60 has become O-no.
As the treasurer of the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, Chris Hash is worried. He has about 100,000 reasons to worry—that’s about how many dollars in lost revenue the department faces due to COVID-19 and social distancing.
“With all of our major fundraisers being postponed or cancelled, we face a potential loss of more than $100,000 in fundraising revenue,” Hash said. “It’s going to hurt.”
Friday night Bingo at the Easton Volunteer Fire Department is a community staple that usually nets $1,000 a week or more for the 100% Volunteer Fire Department, according to Hash. Bingo is cancelled, as people shelter at home. “With social distancing becoming the new norm, we don’t know what the new gathering rules will be” said Hash. “I wonder how long it will take before people feel comfortable to come back to group events.
But Bingo, isn’t his only concern. The Easton Volunteer Fire Department has cancelled the annual Stop, Drop & Run 5K. “We hope to reschedule the 5K event for later this year, but no one knows what the future will bring” said Hash. Now is when the Easton Volunteers would be preparing for their Annual Golf tournament and the Easton Beer Fest, held in September and October, respectively. Hash said the social events “usually bring in $50,000 to $60,000.” Social distancing is hampering the efforts to plan these events.
Hash said the Easton Volunteer Fire Department’s 28th Annual Golf Tournament is set for September 12, 2020. He said the local business community has always supported the tournament “very generously,” but he worries that many of those businesses will be struggling themselves after months of being closed. The 5th Annual Easton Beer Fest set for October 3rd, faces its own set of challenges. “Beer Fests are very social events” said Hash, “regardless if you are indoors like our event, or outdoors like others, it is impossible to maintain any type of social distancing, 6 feet might as well be 6 miles”.
He said the current budget is covered because the department raises funds during the current year for the following year.
“The upcoming fiscal year’s budget could be a real problem” Hash said. He said this year expenses will be higher because of the masks and extra gear the volunteer fire fighters are wearing due to COVID-19, beyond the PPE, equipment and tools we have to maintain or replace on a set schedule”. We have to keep our people safe,” he said.
There are nearly 80 volunteers who respond to fire, rescue and ambulance calls with the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, Hash said. He said, “we respond to 85 – 105 calls for service each month, with 1099 calls in 2019”. “We are fortunate to have very dedicated group that is 100% Volunteer. I haven’t heard of anyone that has not shown up for a call, because of concerns for contracting the virus.”
As treasurer, Hash along with the Board of Trustees oversees the financial side of the Easton Volunteer Fire Department. He said the whole operation costs about $700,000 annually”. While the Town, County and State budgeted $400,000 to the department. He said, the Easton Volunteers have to raise the through donations.
“We love to host the Social Events, it’s our way to interact with our community, other than in their time of need. They allow us to give back to those who are giving to us” said Hash. “Unfortunately, the situation has changed, we look to our community to be generous and they usually are,” said Hash. “We hope people will give again this year.”
“If every household in the Easton Area donated $50, we would be set for the year,” said Hash, who is a life-long Easton resident who has been an Easton Volunteer for 12 years, with more than 9 years on the Board of Trustees and 2 of those as treasurer.
“It is difficult for many now, but we hope people will be able to be generous with us.”
Donations can be made by credit card through the PayPal link on the department website at eastonvfd.org or by mailing checks to:
Easton Volunteer Fire Department
315 Leonard Rieck Drive
Easton, MD 21601
By: Peter Stortz
Photo: Stews & Brews festival attendees line up on February 15, 2020. Are these lines a thing of the past? Photo By: Jameson Harrington.
Contact: EVFD Treasurer, Chris Hash 410-924-7197 or President, Tim Knotts 443-786-5384