BENSON — Thanks to the generosity of a new McGee’s Crossroads McDonald’s, the Autryville Fire Department is a little closer to their goal of rebuilding its headquarters.
The grand opening celebration was held Friday, with more than $3,400 going back to the organization. An EF1 tornado damaged the facility on the evening of Tuesday, May 23.
As a native of Roseboro, owner/operator Doris Huebner, appreciates the service of fire fighters and emergency personnel in Sampson County. It’s the reason she donated 25 percent of total sales to the department.
“Just seeing the devastation of the fire department made me want to do something to help,” said Huebner.
For Huebner, the event on Friday was the perfect opportunity to help local fire departments. Firetrucks were also on display for children to see up close throughout the day. They also enjoyed an inflatable slide. The event featured appearances from firefighters, Ronald McDonald and radio station QDR, which kicked off its Hometown Tour program that travels to different communities within their coverage area.
“That was a big draw with getting people out,” Huebner said about spreading awareness of the fundraiser.
Through a philanthropy program of the McGee’s Crossroads McDonald’s, 50-210 Community Volunteer Fire Department received a $500 check. The firefighters from the department in Johnston County, donated the check to Autryville.
“I thought that was very nice of them,” Huebner said.
Along with sales from menu items, the public donated more than $400.
In addition to recent efforts regarding the fire department, local McDonald’s restaurants also raise funds through Ronald McDonald House Charities. Funds go towards efforts such as building family rooms at hospitals, grants and scholarships.
Like other supporters, Huebner stressed the importance of supporting local fire departments and other first responders. She encouraged people to donate through a GoFundMe campaign at https://goo.gl/x4WoIk. As of Monday, the department raised more than $3,600.
“To me, having a viable first responders’ team is absolutely critical in any community,” she said. “Without that we’re all in danger. So being able to help the Autryville Fire Department get back on their feet and be fully operational is crucial.”
The building for the Autryville Fire Department, located at 305 N. Hotel St., went through a demolition phase in June. It may take about a year to rebuild a new station. The estimated cost is $500,000. Firefighters are now working out of a mobile unit. Several fire departments assisted the department with vehicle loaners and equipment. Some of them include the Boiling Springs Fire Department in Virginia, Cary Fire Department and the Creedmoor Volunteer Fire Department.