DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
SUNRISE BEACH — With a spin of the cage, Sunrise Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jim Miiller mixed up a batch of tickets. As the cage came to a rest, inside sat the winning ticket for a $500 VISA gift card.
A few second later, a member of the Sunrise Beach Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary was on the phone the winner. Then, it was on to the second batch of tickets and another winner of a $500 gift card and, finally, one more drawing — this time for a Savage Arms .257 Roberts rifle.
“This is our big fundraiser of the year,” ladies auxiliary president Mary Williams said. “And the way it looks, we’ll bring in at least $7,500 for the department from it.”
“The auxiliary does a tremendous job supporting us,” Miiller said. “We depend on fundraising like this one the ladies put together for our budget.”
The department, which consists of between 38 and 42 volunteers, provides fire coverage for the city of Sunrise Beach and the surrounding rural area.
Along with fire protection, Miiller said the department also responds to all medical calls to which an ambulance is sent.
The volunteer department serves the village of about 800 residents.
Williams said the department hosts two fundraisers earlier in the year. In the past, the ladies auxiliary held a flea market to raise money, but that was previously nixed. The ladies came up with the idea of the three-prong prize drawing.
Members sold tickets for $15 each or $50 for five. But the tickets weren’t all thrown in one pot. The auxiliary members gave the donor a choice of buying a ticket for the $500 gift card or the rifle, which, with a scope, is valued at about $500.
When tickets for the gift card sold out, the auxiliary members decided it was going so well, they purchased another one and sold more tickets exclusively for it.
The auxiliary limited the number of tickets sold per item to 300.
“We sold them all,” Williams said. “So this turned out to be a great idea. I think it went well.”
Not only did it go well for the auxiliary and the fire department, but the three people answering their phones about 10 a.m. Oct. 10, the day of the drawing, probably thought it also was a success.
“The community has been great supporting us and the department,” Williams said.