WEATHERSFIELD TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – The annual Lenten fish fry put on by the Weathersfield Fire Department is always a staple in the community. However, this year it means a little bit more for the firefighters because they’re also collecting donations for Chief Randy Pugh, who is battling cancer.
You see it as soon as you walk through the doors of Station 41 — an outpouring of love and support for the longtime fire chief.
“It’s just awesome how the response from the community is,” Capt. Todd Stitt said. We have a packed house downstairs with the fish fry, numerous amounts of take-out orders and we have the boot drive where people are making donations.”
Chief Pugh is currently battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“He’s doing great. The community, and the firefighters and that are all praying for him and a great recovery,” Stitt said.
The fire association decided there was no better way to honor their chief through his battle than to start a boot drive during their Friday night fish fries over Lent.
It’s gotten an incredible response from the community.
“What they’re doing for Randy — Randy Pugh is terrific,” said Todd Murdock, of Mineral Ridge.
“I love these dinners,” said Mineral Ridge’s Tim Gleason. “I love supporting the cause. Chief Pugh is beloved in this township, and anything we can do to support him and support the township is something I try to do whenever I can.”
It wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers. From Boy Scouts to students, firefighters and police officers. And it doesn’t go without notice.
“This doesn’t happen without all of their efforts. We are a township where the cornerstone is volunteerism, and help and pitch in. You can see evidence of it tonight,” Gleason said.
While the donations from the boot drive will go directly to Chief Pugh, the money raised from the fish fry will help the department.
“It goes toward the equipment that we need,” Stitt said. “We give back to the community.”
Last fall, the department was able to buy the Jaws of Life with the money raised from its annual fish fry.
Firefighters said with that life-saving equipment, they’ve already saved a number of people after accidents when minutes have been on the line.