An annual tradition will add some extra pride and joy to the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department this year.
The Springfield Volunteer Fire Auxiliary plant sale will be held on April 26 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Springfield Fire Station, 505 S. First St.
Valerie Lutz, head of the auxiliary, said the group has been holding their plant sale on the last Saturday of April every year for the last four or five years. The event will offer perennials, annuals and a few vegetables for sale.
“This year, we’re using a new plant supplier, a local company called Jensen Gardens that’s located on Highway 50 south of Springfield,” Lutz said.
Proceeds from this year’s sale will go to help restore the 1947 Rio firetruck the department recently recovered. The vehicle was the first new fire truck the department ever purchased.
By 1980, the truck was out of use, so a family from Craig, Neb., purchased the vehicle. It remained there for 33 years, until it went up for auction last September and made its way home to Springfield on Sept. 12, 2013.
The department hopes to use the fire truck for parades and fire prevention events atthe schools, but it needs some help before it is ready for that stage. Lutz said the plant sale will help defray some of the costs associated with getting the truck in shape to be run and displayed.
The department is committed to using only donations and no taxpayer money for the truck restoration project. Bob Roseland has been heading up the Rio restoration project and said there is still a fair amount of work to get done.
“It hasn’t been running for two years,” he said. “The radiator was stolen out of it two years ago, which is why the family that had owned it stopped driving it. We found another truck with the radiator we needed and they donated it to us, so now we’re in the process of getting the brakes to work, making sure it turns and trying to get some sparks going to see if it’ll fire.”
Roseland said the department has gotten a great deal of support already with the project.
“I really appreciate everybody who has been excited about this,” he said. “We’ve had an outpouring of people who want to help in any aspect they can.”
Lutz expressed her gratitude to those who will help out by purchasing plants at the sale as well.
“We appreciate everyone who comes out and supports us in being able to support our fire department,” Lutz said.