Chester Fire Department Christmas trees go on sale

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Volunteers help with one of the larger trees. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

The spirit of the season arrived in Chester on Friday, with the delivery of 500 Christmas trees for the Chester Fire Department’s annual sale.

Firefighters and other volunteers – including a number of children – gathered at Rt. 103 south across from Marshall Road – to unload the tractor trailer packed with the 500 evergreen trees from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, which arrived ahead of schedule at 7:45 a.m.

By 9 o’clock the department had its first sale, and sales will continue until all of the trees are sold. Firefighters will staff the sale, although there is also an honor box if no one is around.

Keeping the trees affordable while raising funds is a balancing act as firefighter Amber Wilson writes the check for the delivery

The sale of Christmas trees is one of the major fundraisers put on by the Yosemite Engine Company, which is the private, non-profit fund-raising arm of the department. In the past, the funds that the group has raised have gone toward purchasing equipment that the department needed without using taxpayer dollars.

Yosemite President Ben Whalen said the Engine Company tries to raise some funds and keep the trees affordable at the same time even in the face of inflation. This year, trees are going for $45.  In the end, it is the help of volunteers that makes it work.

The old trailer gets new life

“If this was a for-profit business (with paid workers),” Whalen told The Telegraph “it wouldn’t make anything.”

Funds from this sale and other events like the food stall at the Festival on the Green help to provide equipment for the fire department, including furnishings for the break room, offices and training room at the new Public Safety Building on Pleasant Street.

In the past, volunteers have used an old camper to get out of the elements, but in the off-season volunteers have built a new shelter on the camper’s frame.


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