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Salute to summer

NLFD’s family-friendly fundraiser to be held Saturday, Aug. 22
Kids’ waterball and inflatable rides are just two of the many family-friendly activities planned for this year’s Salute to Summer event to take place Aug. 22 at Bobbers Grill near Scales Pointe Campground outside North Liberty. (Leader file photos)

NORTH LIBERTY– A summer tradition is heating up once again in North Liberty.
The North Liberty Fire Department (NLFD) will host its annual Salute to Summer fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Bobbers Grill, 1850 Scales Bend Rd. NE, North Liberty.
The venue is perfect for the family-friendly event that encompasses everything from kids’ activities and games to a poker run, silent action and live music, said NLFD’s Rob DuBay, the chair for this year’s event.
“The staff at Bobbers is amazing. They support us wholeheartedly and see this as a great benefit to the community. We don’t have to pay anything to be there, they open their doors and welcome us, and provide us with all kinds of supplies we might need,” said DuBay. “The food out there is great;
Campers at the nearby Scales Pointe Campground also play a big part in the event’s success,” said DuBay.
“All the people at the campground are tremendously supportive. They are out there buying raffle tickets and bidding at the silent auction and the kids are all on the inflatables… I can’t say enough good things about them,” DuBay said.
Kids– and kids at heart– will again be able to enjoy a variety of inflatable rides like the bungee run and a giant slide; the slide can even be converted to a water slide of sorts, weather permitting. Spanky the mechanical bull will be rough and ready, and fire fighting apparatus and emergency response vehicles will be on display, including the department’s new fire truck and the UTV (utility terrain vehicle), which was purchased with funds raised in previous Salute to Summer events.
“We saved money so we could get that. It’s a real unique piece of equipment,” said DuBay. Able to traverse rough terrain, the vehicle is outfitted with complete firefighting and EMS capabilities, including a small 50-gallon tank, a hose reel, and an area for a stretcher-like extrication device referred to as a Stokes basket.
“It allows us to get to more remote areas if there is a grass fire, or if someone is out on a trail and we need to get someone out, we can put them in a stokes basket so it makes it safer and quicker to get someone help,” DuBay said.
This year, Salute to Summer welcomes Lonesome Road, a country rock band that also plays some classic and modern rock favorites.
“Lonesome Road has a great following, and they’ve played at Bobbers in the past,” DuBay said. “We are really looking forward to having them.”
While the event is free, there are many opportunities for raising funds for the department. The silent auction will have many types of items to bid on, such as fire hydrants and a Trek bicycle. The motorcycle poker run leaves the NLFD station at 10 a.m., with some new locations this year: Baxa’s Store and Tavern in Sutliff, the Wild Hogs Saloon in Walford, Sundown Bar and Grill in Williamsburg, the American Legion in Oxford, and ending at Bobbers. Finally, the department will raffle off another $1,500 Apple Vacations package, with the drawing at 9 p.m. (Participants need not be present to win).
Even those who cannot attend show support of NLFD’s efforts, DuBay said. A lot of people are surprised to learn that NLFD is an all-volunteer department; just two part-time staff members are paid.
“Some people aren’t able to make Salute to Summer, and they will just mail donations to us, and sometimes they put in a nice note. Some of those notes are just amazing,” said DuBay. “People will say ‘you came to my house earlier this year, and you were very professional and courteous. Thank you for everything you do.’ The letters we get back are very touching, and really show the support people give us.”
Even a small donation of $10 to $20 can be a lot for some people, he said, but every amount is appreciated.
Salute to Summer funds are also very important to supplementing the department’s finances. DuBay said the City of North Liberty has been generous in its support, but there are always additional needs not covered by their annual budget. Often, Salute to Summer funds are used for training experiences and equipment.
“There are always things out there that need updated or need to be replaced over time. We use these funds to supplement that,” said DuBay.
For example, one purchase was a life-size mannequin that allows trainees to actively use a live AED to actually practice using the device as they would on a real person. “It makes (the training) realistic. Being able to purchase those things we can’t work into our budget is very beneficial.”
Salute to Summer, now in its seventh year, has historically seen good weather, great attendance, and success in its mission of offering a fun, family-oriented event while helping the NLFD maintain its high level of professionalism.
DuBay looks forward to another great Salute to Summer.
“It’s great to know that people support us, and see the value in the department,” said DuBay. “It’s nice to see that appreciation, and we feel it when we are out and about in the community.”