Slocum VFD

Still searching for the perfect Mother’s Day gift?

Check out the Slocum Fire Department’s 44th annual barbecue and auction Saturday, May 8.

Since 1976, the Slocum Volunteer Fire Department paid for its maintenance, operations, and equipment with a down home barbecue and homecoming on Mother's Day weekend.

“This would be our 45th annual event, but the COVID pandemic shut us down last year,” said Chief Ben Missildine. “We hope our community will come out and support our department as they have in the past.”

New to this year’s weekend event is a Friday sale of chopped beef sandwiches by the department. Members of the department will be setup close to the little league fields starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 6. They will sell the sandwich plates complete with chips and a drink for $10 through Friday, May 7.

Saturday’s activities kickoff at 7 a.m. at Slocum ISD with a trail ride.

“This year’s trail ride will honor Melvin Chapin, our past auctioneer,” Missildine said. “The Chapin family have always been big supporters of this event.”

A parade, open to the public, will meander through town, starting at 11 a.m.

The barbecue plates will be ready to serve at 10 a.m. for $15 a plate. Cash, credit cards and VENMO are accepted.

“What makes our event unique is that all the food is homemade,” said Missildine. “When I took over the event as Fire Chief, they gave me the mop sauce recipe on a piece of paper.

“That recipe is the one we have used for 43 years. All the potato salad, beans and desserts are homemade.”

For Saturday’s event, the department cooks 1,500 pounds of brisket, 250 pounds of sausage, 250 pounds of hot links, and 250 pounds of ham.

Drive through and pre-orders are available. Requests must be received by Nikki Casto by Friday, May 7.

“We are so fortunate to have a community school that lets us utilize their facility for this event each year,” Missildine said. “We are also fortunate to have the volunteers that help us each year. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the event, so everyone that volunteers only works an hour.”

According to Missildine, it takes some 60 volunteers to make it all work.

There will be an array of bounce houses and slides for the kids, as well as a lineup of emergency vehicles, featuring the CHRISTUS Flight for Life Helicopter at is schedule to land around noon.

Crockett State of Mind will perform at 11 a.m. The live auction is set to start at 1 p.m. and the Reunion will begin at 2 p.m.

“The Slocum school’s COVID-19 protocols for sanitation will be in place during this event,” Missildine said. “We are also going to adhere to the school policy of if ‘If you wanna wear a mask, wear a mask. If you don’t, you don’t have to.’”

If you haven't found the perfect gift for mom, you might want to wait and check out their live and silent auction lineup.

“We always have a great line up of auction items,” said Missildine. “Everyone gets a brochure that displays each lot for auction when they arrive so they can look over and know what they want to bid on later that day.”

Some of those items include homemade benches, picnic tables and other items made by the volunteer fire department.

“Our fire department was started by some Slocum residents after one of their neighbors lost a house to a fire,” Missildine said. “These gentlemen set the foundation.

“I hope we are carrying the tradition and continue to meet the expectations they had. That is why this event is so special.”

The proceeds from this fundraiser will help the department catch up from last year and help them complete Fire Station 2.

Although Slocum's VFD contracts with the county for $13,000 a year, $8,000 or more of that money is used to pay its annual insurance, said Missildine.

“Without a fundraiser last year, funds were tight,” said Missildine. “Each year we have a goal in mind of what we want to do next. We have our barbecue and then we make plans according to what we bring in.”

Once complete, Fire Station 2 will also serve as a community center where residents can host birthday parties and events and organizations can use it for a meeting room.

The department also works to get grants, such as those from the Texas Forest Service and has always been well supported by donations from the community.

For those who would like to support the department, but cannot make the event, donations can be sent to Slocum Volunteer Fire Department, 5710 E. State Hwy 294, Elkhart, TX 75839. All contributions are tax deductible.

For more information, call Ben Missildine, 903-724-0620; Daniel Bailey, 903-721-4664; April Thorton, Trail Ride and Parade, 903-516-2316; Amanda Bailey, Auction and Parade, 903-922-1971; Nikki Casto, Reunion and Kitchen, 214-212-3610.

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