Posted: Saturday, October 6th 2012 at 10:40pm
Hundreds turn out to support Habersham County firefighter
By Rob Moore Editor
The line stretched out of the building for Saturday's benefit for Habersham County Fire Lt. Matt Ruark. (Photo/Rob Moore)
CLARKESVILLE – The stew was flowing and the barbecue chicken plates were flying out the door Saturday at the benefit for Habersham County Fire Lt. Matt Ruark.
Ruark is out of work following complications from a virus and can’t perform regular duty until February.
On Saturday, the parking lot of Habersham County Fire Department Station 9 in Hollywood overflowed and the line stretched out the door even before the event began, with people carrying out bags and boxes of barbecue chicken plate, quarts of Jimmy Yon’s Brunswick stew, and a variety of homemade and other sweet treats.
Firefighter Brandon Holcomb, one of the organizers of the benefit , was overwhelmed by the community support, and the amount of money raised for Ruark after expenses.
Holcomb said firefighters sold around 700 chicken plates and 393 quarts of stew.
A lot of work went into preparing for the fundraiser.
“We started having meetings about a month and a half ago,” Holcomb said. “We really started getting stuff in gear Friday morning around 7:30 to have meals ready by 10:30 this [Saturday] morning. Seven of us stayed up all night to prepare stew.”
Lee Arrendale State Prison Fire Chief Tammy Ayers, whose crew helped with Saturday’s event, also was pleased with the event.
“It was really great to see our community come out today to support our friend Matt,” Ayers said. “I had a great time working and hanging out with our fire department family. I am so proud to be a part of the Habersham County Fire Department … just a great bunch of folks with huge hearts!”
Ruark also was overwhelmed with Saturday’s turnout and support.
“Again to everyone, I want to say thank you to each and every person who has helped in any part of this, whether it be assisting with the benefit, helping me with the at-home I.V., getting me out of the house, or buying something at the barbecue,” Ruark said.
“Thank you to all my brothers and sisters at Habersham County and Tallulah Falls fire departments,” Ruark said. “Always remember, I’ve got your back, like my really big family has had mine.”
While Holcomb admits the benefit for Ruark was a lot of work, he said, “He would have done it for me.”
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