GRIDLEY – Members of the Gridley Fire Department weren’t putting out any fires on Sunday, although they were slaving over a hot griddle.
The department’s annual pancake breakfast at the Gridley community building is a tradition which spans more than 50 years and always takes place the first two Sundays in February.
“We usually serve about 800 total between the two Sundays,” explained Gridley Fire Chief Casey Knobloch. “It’s been a good turnout for the snowy weather. It’s been great.”
Knobloch estimates his department typically raises around $2,000 and uses that money to replace older equipment and for building maintenance. The Gridley Fire Department has 25 members who all remain very active, according to Knobloch. He said all of the firemen take care of the breakfast duties – serving up pancakes, sausage and eggs – while their wives and kids get the day off.
Local farmers donated the sausage which was processed by the Slagel family in Forrest. The firefighters also hold a steak fry fundraiser each summer, always the first Saturday after the Fourth of July.
Knobloch feels Gridley is fortunate to have a strong volunteer fire department and understanding employers in the community who let their firefighter employees off to respond to calls.
“We usually run around 80 calls a year. Our ambulance runs about 300 calls a year and about eight of our members do both the fire and ambulance,” Knobloch said.
Areas served by the Gridley Fire Department include McLean, Livingston and Woodford counties along with Lake Bloomington.