CHERRY HILL — From its early beginnings in 1980, the Cherry Hill Volunteer Fire Department has counted on the support of the community that the firefighters serve. Members of the community have rallied together in a variety of ways to raise money for the Fire Department.
There have been — and still are — chili suppers, bean and cornbread suppers, breakfasts, fish fries, barbecues, raffles and the ever-popular cookbooks. Volunteers have put together another cookbook, Burnt Offerings, Silver Anniversary, which became available in December 2013. Members of the cookbook committee include Alice Wallis, Lesley Brazil Carter, Sheila Doughty, Kristy Wells, Troy Glenn, Darrin Mitchell and Tracy Bull.
The front pages of the cookbook pay tribute to the late Jimmy Sebourn and to Glynda Newell and her husband, the late Ralph Newell.
Sebourn served the Cherry Hill Fire Department for 25 years. He died in August 2013.
The Newells were part of the organization from the beginning. Glynda helped organize and run the fundraisers, and Ralph was always on hand to assist at fires and at special events. Ralph died in October 2013.
The new cookbook contains 699 recipes. The softbound book sells for $15 and is available at businesses in Perryville. The book can also be ordered by mail; send a check for $20 (that includes shipping and handling), made payable to Cherry Hill Volunteer Fire Department, to Shelby Bull, treasurer, 3449 Arkansas 60 W., Perryville, AR 72126.
Cookbooks will also be available at the Fire Department’s upcoming breakfast at 7 a.m. March 8 at the fire station, 56 Cherry Hill Loop, just outside Perryville off Arkansas 60. The public is invited, and donations are welcome. Breakfast will be served until “the food runs out,” which is usually around 10.
“There is no way we could do it without these fundraisers,” Fire Chief Troy Glenn said. “They are a huge part of our organization, but more importantly, they bring our community together.”
In addition to raising money for its own use, the Cherry Hill Volunteer Fire Department also supports efforts by other nonprofit organizations, such as the annual Perry County Sheriff’s Office Toy Drive.
The Cherry Hill Volunteer Fire Department started with one pumper truck and a two-bay fire station. Through fundraising efforts, donations and matching grants, the department now has six trucks — two pumpers, two tankers, a rescue truck and a brush truck — and a metal building with four bays, a kitchen and a meeting area.
The Fire Department has 25 members on the roster. In addition to Glenn, other officers are Art Gibbons, assistant chief; Tracy Bull, captain; Rick Moss, training officer; Shelby Bull, treasurer; and Jarrell Payne, secretary.
Glenn said the department made approximately 40 calls in 2013.
“Most are medical calls,” he said.
Bernard Bull, who has been with the Fire Department since it began, said it also responds to brush and structure fires. The department serves 323 families within a five-mile radius of the fire station.
“We now send out [bills for] fire dues,” Bull said. “It’s not mandatory that they pay, but they really need to pay. We can assess them for suppression costs if they don’t pay their dues. If they pay their dues, which are $45 per family, and we respond to a fire, it costs them nothing.”
The Cherry Hill Fire Department has an ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating of 4.
“That’s the best you can get as a rural fire department,” Bernard Bull said.
“That represents a lot of hard work,” Shelby Bull added.