Timberline Auxiliary hits jackpot

timberline table of peopleBarbara Lawlor
Gilpin County

Sometimes moving an event to a larger venue can make a huge difference in the turnout. On Saturday, March 2, the Timberline Fire Protection District Auxiliary hosted its annual chili cook off, featuring red, white and green chili, spicy or mild chili, cornbread, coleslaw, and ice cream, and at least 300 people filled their bowls and enjoyed the company of friends and neighbors.
For years the dinner has been at the Station 2 Fire House bays. This year the cook off was in the Gilpin County Community Center gymnasium. If you make the venue larger, more people will fill it up.
The event, however, was much more than merely chowing down on chili. It also offered probably the largest silent auction seen in Gilpin County. Great bargains were available and the bidders worked up to a last minute frenzy to garner the items they were hoping to win.
Tables were piled up high with good stuff: A hardbound picture book of 101 Breeds of Dogs, cool tools, a tripod flashlight, a folding scooter, a children’s fireman suit with helmet and boots, a fishing vest, fancy hats and quilts, a septic clean, heaters, a smoker, stained glass, crock pots, gift certificates to many restaurants, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, baskets of luxury food items, awesome artwork, an oil change, a haircut and the opportunity to take home $6 worth of chili.
As time edged closer to the end of the auction, bidders hovered over their choices, ready to outbid any marauders. Some items were purchased for more than the recommended price by determined shoppers. The tension was palpable. When it was time to stop the bidding, volunteers had to shoo shoppers away from the tables.
Some people were ecstatic over acquiring an item and those who lost out walked away mumbling they didn’t want it anyway.
Timberline Fire Chief Chris Jennings addressed the crowd, thanking the auxiliary for organizing and working the dinner. He said that the Fire Department runs on tax base money and it is the auxiliary fundraising that allows the district to purchase ATVs for wilderness rescues. The ATVs were parked at the entrance of the community center, with their knobby wheels and treads.
The auxiliary also pays for uniforms for the volunteers and is prepared to bring hot meals and cold beverages to firefighters working a major wildland fire or rescue operation. They are angels in times of emergencies. Assistant Chief Chris Schimanskey put out an invitation to teens to join the cadet program.
Chief Jennings also reminded the residents that address signs were for sale. They are green reflective signs that make it easy for firefighters to find homes in case of an emergency.
“Address signs save lives,” he advised them.
When all the auction items were picked up by successful bidders and when all the chili and fixings had been devoured, the night was over, but the good things that the fundraiser buys will last throughout the year.