Couple Gives Land To Arvonia VFD

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, June 19, 2014

ARVONIA — It’s common for a couple to pick up a few Styrofoam plates of chicken with several sides and drop a $50 bill into the donation box on a Sunday afternoon during a firehouse barbeque.

It’s also normal for a person, say, living on Route 24, to cut a check for $20 every January for their local fire department at Toga.

But it’s very uncommon when a couple donates land to their fire department.

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Land to build and grow on, to use to better serve the thousands of homes and residents they’re charged to protect from fires and natural disasters.

Arvonia residents and business owners Calvin and Carolyn Bachrach recently donated two acres of property to the Arvonia Volunteer Fire Department.

They didn’t simply donate the property to the volunteers, but they did so in the name of the late Lilly Smith, Carolyn’s mother, who also lived in Arvonia.

“It used to be where the old bag factory was years ago…It burned down a couple of years ago when lightening hit it,” noted Arvonia Fire Department President Steve Toney during an interview with The Herald.

“She was a real quiet woman. She didn’t get out much,” Toney said of Smith. “…Calvin thought a lot of her.”

According to Toney, Billy, Lilly’s husband, worked for New Canton Concrete and was very active with the fire company.

“Right now, we’ll probably just keep it cleaned up…We don’t have any plans in the future right now,” the fire department president noted of the property.

Toney explains that the Bachrach’s and their Arvonia business, C&C Motors, do a tremendous amount of volunteer work for the fire department.

“Calvin does a lot for us…That water tank we’ve got up there…he went down there and hauled it up here for nothing…He’s always doing something for us, painting trucks or something.”

Toney says if the department had to buy the land, “We would have had to cut some other stuff…”

Along with receiving funding from the County’s board of supervisors, the department has to hold five or six fundraisers annually just to pay the bills, says Toney.

“When you get up there talking about thousands of dollars, you don’t get much of that (in donations).”

“She passed away last year…We miss her,” Bachrach told The Herald when asked the reasoning donating the property in her name.

“It just seemed like the thing to do…They were good people,” he said of his in-laws.

“They don’t get paid for their work,” he said of the volunteers with the fire department.

The slate sign, which includes the fire department’s emblem along with Lilly Smith’s name, was made by the department’s fire chief Chris Davis.

The Arvonia Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1963.