Boots and Bullets nets $73K for Dayton firefighters

The Boots and Bullets committee is pictured at Saturday night's event at the Dayton Community Center.

The Dayton Volunteer Fire Department netted an estimated $73K at the Boots and Bullets fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Dayton Community Center.

Attendees opened their pocketbooks and wallets to bid on items in the live and silent auctions, with some items fetching several items their actual value. The generosity of the bidders is a direct result of the hard work put in by the approximately three dozen firefighters who make up Dayton Volunteer Fire Department.

“I can’t say enough about the way people support the firefighters,” said Dayton City Councilman Alvin Burress, one of the organizers, an emcee at the event and a member of Dayton VFD. “We know we have to depend on the people of this town and the City, just like they have to depend on us. It’s a great relationship.”

Les Abner (left) helped Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson make bids on items via phone at Boots and Bullets on Saturday at the Dayton Community Center. Unable to attend the event as he is undergoing cancer treatments, Wilson still did his best to participate and support Dayton Volunteer Fire Department.

The money raised from the event will go toward equipping firefighters with the essential bunker gear they need while fighting fires. Burress said one set of bunker gear costs an estimated $4,000, a huge expense for a department made up of all volunteers. Other funds will likely find their way to pay for maintenance of existing equipment and the purchase of other important items, he added.

Last year, Dayton firefighters responded to 664 calls, which Burress said was a record for the department. As the City continues to grow, the demands on the fire department will undoubtedly increase as well.

“We will have more residents in the City before long and the fire department will have to expand to the south and the west. Currently we have two fire stations – one on Highway 321 and one by City Hall,” Burress said.

Boots and Bullets was originated around 2016, according to Burress. Since that time, the event has grown in popularity with tables selling out in advance. Not only is the food worth the price of admission with grilled steaks and chicken cooked up by firefighters, and side dishes made by the ladies’ auxiliary, the entertainment and the camaraderie draw people to the event. This year, Raygan Mouton performed throughout the meal. Later in the evening, The Forever Brothers took the stage.

Burress said that the Boots and Bullets committee, including Dayton Fire Chief Chad Glatfelter, begin working on the event several months in advance.

Glatfelter said he is thrilled with the results of the 2023 Boots and Bullets fundraising, calling it a “huge success.”

“The committee members have already started throwing around ideas to make it bigger and better for next year. We are looking to add a new attraction, and I’ve also heard mention of possibly bringing back the cook-off the morning of the event,” Glatfelter said. “I just want to thank our guys with Dayton VFD, City of Dayton employees and countless other supporters that helped contribute to this successful night. See y’all next year!”

The Boots and Bullets committee is comprised of Burress, Chatfelter, Drake Lerma, Tammie Alexander, Jennifer Billings, Amanda Wilson, David Rodgers, John Coleman and Murphy Green.

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