Firemen’s Ball to provide for tools, scholarship

The flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and the end of school is approaching. Springtime is in full throttle this April, but with the few early beach days comes an unusually dry season.

“It’s extremely dry out there. An unfinished cigarette could start a fire,” said Thomas Green, a Bedford firefighter and president of the Bedford Firefighter’s Association. “Just last week, I helped put out a large brush fire at the railroad tracks near the Merrimack River.”

Residents can support the Bedford Fire Department by purchasing tickets to this year’s 73rd annual Firemen’s Ball, which will take place Friday, May 11, at the Manchester Country Club. All proceeds from the ball benefit the Bedford Firefighter’s Association rescue and scholarship funds.

“The past few years, ticket sales haven’t been high,” Green said. “If we don’t have enough money raised at this year’s ball, we probably won’t have it next year. It would be a shame to see this go, it’s a fun time.”

According to Green, the objective of the Firefighters Association is to assist the department in purchasing equipment that does not get into the budget, manage the Norman Richards Scholarship program and maintain a relief fund for the members of the association in the event that a member needs help.

The Firefighter’s Association has changed over the years. The Bedford Fire Department is no longer a volunteer fire department. Currently, the department has more than 30 full-time fire personnel.

“We are fortunate that we have organizations in town that help through donations, such as the Bedford Men’s Club, and many private citizens and businesses that donate to the association to purchase equipment.” Green said.

Recently, the Firefighter’s Association, with the help of donations from Bedford residents, was able to purchase an Amkus Rescue tool. The tool is used to pry open or cut doors on vehicles as a result of an accident. According to Green, newer cars have high-density material in the doors to protect the passengers.

“Some of the material takes 100,000 pounds of cutting force to cut through. The older equipment could not cut through the newer materials. We were able to immediately purchase that tool to put on the apparatus with a few days of it being available,” Green said.

Green also said the Amkus tool was used within the past month to help save a man from a flipped-over pickup truck on Route 101.

Ticket sales not only help the Firefighter’s Association purchase equipment, but also benefit the Norman Richards Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is awarded to qualified Bedford High School graduating seniors. Since its beginnings, the association has provided more than $100,000 in scholarships. Some of last year’s recipients of the scholarships were Kellen Boyden, Michael Scanlon and Stephanie Clark.

Tickets are $45 per person and $85 per couple (which includes dinner). The event will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner and dancing will go until 12:30 a.m. Disc jockey Steve Gamlin will be providing the musical entertainment. Tickets can be purchased by contacting John Ackerson at 622-2918.

Katelyn Dobbs can be reached at 594-6549 or