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Celebrating wins

Upper McKenzie launches “Firehouse Chili Cookoff”

MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Last Thursday varied from the Upper McKenzie RFPD’s regularly scheduled drill night. Instead, they opted to celebrate the department’s Wins since the night of the Holiday Farm Fire.

“On the night of 9/7/2020, almost all of the volunteers currently on our roster were either fighting or fleeing (or both) the Holiday Farm Fire,” according to Upper McKenzie Fire Chief Rainbow Plews. During the “last two anniversaries, we have spent time focusing on the trauma, sorrow, grief, fear, and horror that affected every part of our lives. We have supported each other, all at different places in our recovery journey.”

This year the department decided to focus on growth, strength, resilience, camaraderie, positivity, wins, and looking at things through the lens of gratitude. “We chose to see our circumstances with the current fires not from a place of fear, loss, and bitterness but from the place of gratefulness and humility,” Plews noted.

With that in mind, last Thursday night was an opportunity for people in the first responder family - fire, Forestry, EMS, and Law Enforcement to get together in an effort to move forward through this process.

The result? A spread of cornbread and more was judged in an inaugural Annual Firehouse Chili Cookoff Contest.

“The competition was tough and the friendship was fast,” Plews said. “Almost all of our volunteers were present. LCSO and ODF had folks in attendance as well as a couple of board members. There were nine chili contestants and everyone present voted on their favorite.”


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