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Chiefs hope cookbook catches ‘fire’

November 1, 2012

Pictured are Hazmat Coordinator Bill Lehmkuhl, St. Marys Township Chief Chad Hicks, St. Johns Chief Rodney Campbell, Wayne Township Chief Albert Presnell, Wapakoneta Chief Kendall Krites, former Cridersville Chief Ron Mertz, St. Marys City Chief Joe Weaver, New Knoxville Chief Scott Schroer, New Bremen Chief Bob Kuck, Minster Chief Dale Dues, Buckland Chief Todd Vorhees, Uniopolis Chief Kelly Knutzen and EMA Director Troy Anderson.

Most of the time, fire chiefs in Auglaize County work to put out fires. Now, they have they hope a new item catches “fire.”

In an effort to raise funds for firefighter training, the Auglaize County Fire Chiefs Association recently released a cook book of their favorite recipes — made by their mothers, their wives, other relatives and even by themselves — and they said they hope it becomes a hot item for the holidays and beyond.

“We were looking for a project that every department could be a part of and this was an ideal project,” Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites, who explained the book includes a history of each fire department in the county along with recipes submitted from all 11 fire departments.

“Basically, we are raising money to put on fire training for all the firefighters in the county,” Buckland Volunteer Fire Chief Todd Vorhees said of the cook book being sold for $15. “Like Chief Krites said there are recipes from every fire department and each recipe says who the recipe is from, the name of the firefighter or the person who submits the recipe, their relationship to the firefighter and which department they belong to.”

The funds should help the more than 300 firefighters serving the different departments throughout Auglaize County. One of the last training exercises paid for was rapid intervention team training, or a team of firefighters who will be on stand-by to rescue firefighters if they are caught in a burning structure and are struggling or cannot get out of the building.

The new cookbook replaces past fundraisers such as a poker run during the Auglaize County Fair and during the Fourth of July holiday as well as selling blankets with images of a fire truck from each of the 11 fire departments.

Due to work schedules forcing some firefighters to be unable to participate in the poker runs, the fire chiefs were looking for a project that each department could participate in more fully.

The cook book turned out to be more than a fundraiser as Krites, Vorhees and Minster Fire Chief Dale Dues attested to the recipes in the books.

“I would say there were some good cooks who submitted recipes for this cook book,” Krites said. “They have been submitted by firefighters, their wives, their moms, aunts — each recipe lists who submitted the recipe and their relationship to the firefighter. These are good home cooking recipes.”

Vorhees said the book has a more practical appeal to him than other cook books.

“A lot of these recipes are from our moms and our wives and they have been passed down from one generation to the next, and I went through it page by page and there are a lot of good recipes in this book,” Vorhees said. “Like Kendall said these are good home cooking-type recipes and most of the ingredients are already in your cupboard when you get ready to make them. For the most part, you don’t have to make a special run to the store or travel out of town to a special store to pick up this ingredient or that ingredient.”

Dues, who along with Vorhees and Krites gathered Wednesday at the Wapakoneta Fire House, said firefighters themselves submitted recipes including some of their more popular entries they have used at other fundraisers.

The project was possible because of the wives of the fire chiefs and the spouses of their firefighters.

Dues’ wife, Margaret “Mag” Dues suggested the idea and helped in putting the book together.

“My wife actually works at a printer and she has been involved in a lot of these types of fundraisers and she suggested a cook book,” Dues said.

“If it wasn’t for somebody willing to step forward and without her and a few of the other wives, we couldn’t have pulled this off,” Krites said.

While wives of all the firefighters helped by contributing recipes, Sue Krites, Angie Vorhees, Chris Schroer, the wife of New Knoxville Fire Chief Scott Schroer, assisted Mag Dues in compiling and typing in the recipes.

The book also includes colored photographs of firefighters in training exercises and actual working fires as well as group shots. Along with the histories of each department, the book includes fire safety and protection tips, ingredient substitutions, weights and measures equivalent, herbs, common cooking terms and recipes for household cleaners.

People can purchase or order the book from any firefighter in the county. Copies should be available at each fire house and businesses throughout the fire department’s district.

The cook books have been available for approximately one week, but each of the fire chiefs said they should be considered for Santa Claus’ list.

“They became available at a really good time with the holiday season upon us,” Krites said.

“I think they make a great gift, and with the price I think it makes a really good gift for your mom, your aunt, your wife or your girlfriend,” Vorhees said. “They are just a great gift idea.”   

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