By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
Hardin firefighters welcomed the community to its fire station Saturday. Although Hardin Fire Protection District moved into the new facility last fall, it was the first time the public had an opportunity to tour it during the luncheon.
“A lot wanted to see what we’ve done to the place,” Fire Chief Malcolm Cunningham said.
Firefighters served spaghetti with meat sauce, salad and dessert for a freewill donation. Proceeds will go toward the city’s annual Easter egg hunt and a Hardin-Central scholarship, according to the fire chief.
Cunningham acknowledged the efforts of Mary Lou Baker and presented her a plaque. Baker, an area singer and entertainer, performed at Hardin-Central a few years ago as part of a fundraiser for the fire station. Proceeds from that event, which included the women’s auxiliary, enabled the fire department to buy new tables and chairs for events, like Saturday’s.
Baker’s thoughts went out to her brother, Theodore Baker, who donated the land for the new fire station. A plaque with his photo will become a permanent fixture at the facility, Cunningham said.
“He was such as good guy and gave to all the churches,” she said of him.
The spacious new facility is pristine and well lit, that comfortably houses the fire district’s fire trucks, pumpers, equipment and gear. The facility also has a full kitchen, classroom area, an ADA-compliant restroom and ample second-floor storage.
Construction of the facility was punctuated with delays – from the tedious process of receiving SEMA and FEMA flood plain approval beginning in 2008 to the theft of $76,000 of district funds in 2010. Former fire district secretary/treasurer Julie Nail pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced in 2012.
Fire Protection District Board President Don Blankenship said the board acted as the general contractor on the project to make the most of its existing funds. The district receives funding from taxes from property owners in its jurisdiction.