Sister Lakes Fire Department’s Fourth of July Bigfoot Parade, BBQ fundraiser raises $12,000

SISTER LAKES — A local fire department had a Fourth of July weekend to remember.

The Sister Lakes Fire Department hosted its annual Fourth of July Bigfoot Parade and BBQ Fundraiser this weekend, raising more than $12,000 in the process.

“It was definitely a success,” said firefighter and fundraising organizer Rick Pletz. “We received plenty of support from the community.”

The annual fundraiser  — named after the mythical Bigfoot monster that became a part of Sister Lakes lore after someone supposedly sighted the creature near Dewey Lake in the mid-1960s — consisted of a parade featuring local businesses and organizations throughout the Sister Lakes community as well as a Port-A-Pit barbeque station offering guests a variety of different barbecue foods, including chicken, ribs, hot dogs and potatoes.

T-shirts were also sold to contribute to the fundraising efforts.

“It was really good,” Pletz said. “The number of donations we received was remarkable.”

The money raised from the event will go towards the completion of Sister Lakes Fire Department Station No. 2. Located on Leech Road, the new station will decrease the response times of firefighters. According to Pletz, construction began in the spring, and the department hopes the station will be completed by the fall.

“We’ve been working towards it for the past year getting financing stuff squared away,” Pletz said. “Several of our firefighters live near the second station that would normally have to drive to the main station to respond. Our response time should decrease significantly.”

The station will also improve the department’s current Insurance Services Office rating, a score from one to 10 that indicates how well-protected a community is by its fire department.

Homeowners insurance companies use the ISO rating to help set homeowners insurance rates.

According to Pletz, the ISO rating zone extends out five miles from a community’s fire station. While the Sister Lakes Fire Department’s station does not currently cover the entire ISO area, the new station ensures that the entire ISO will be covered.

“The lower the ISO score, the lower insurance premiums will be,” Pletz said.

While the fundraiser was a financial success, Pletz and his fellow firefighters treasured the communal aspect of the event after more than a year of social isolation and look forward to more events in the future.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “Normally, we interact with community members on their worst days. It’s great to see familiar faces we haven’t seen in a while and talk with them face to face.”

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