by Madison V. Fisler
June 14, 2013. At long last, the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and the Town of Beech Mountain will finally unveil the park that has been a dream in the making for the past five years.
June 15, 2013 will mark the dedication and grand opening of Fireman’s Park. Located right beside Fire Station #2 at 513 St. Andrews Road, the park is the result of half a decade of planning, fundraising and hard work by the volunteers and the community behind them.
“This has been a desire of the fire department for a long time,” said Chief Bob Pudney.
The land that the station sits on is much larger than what the station requires. After years of dreaming, the completed not-quite-one-acre park features a sizable parking area, a creek, picnic tables and grills, and as the centerpiece for it all, the children’s playground.
“The playground equipment is designed as a fire truck,” Pudney said. “There is a speaker, money bars and a slide for the kids.”
The park is also the starting point for Fireman’s trail.
Funding for the park came from many sources throughout the community. The volunteers at the department provided most of the labor for the construction of the park, as well as part of the finances. Other notable contributors to the project include the Beech Mountain Club, Mountain Electric and the Kiwanis club. The donations, whether monetary or labor, were sizable and the department received tons of support from the community.
“Over the years we have raised money, received donations and really put the entire community behind this,” said Pudney. “It really is a model of a community project because so many people were behind it.”
The dedication of Fireman’s Park will be held at Station #2 from noon-2 p.m. on June 15. The department will offer an open house at the fire station where there will be free hot dogs, cotton candy and lemonade for everyone in attendance. There will also be fire fighting apparatus demonstrations, fire fighting equipment and vehicles displays and tours of the fire station. Following the open house, the department will cut the ribbon and officially dedicate the park to the town. The entire community is invited to attend.
The Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department currently has 49 volunteers, but there is always room for more.
“I think that people should really consider this a way to give back to the community, that’s what the department is all about,” said Pudney. “I have been in this business for almost 40 years and I have seen hundreds of volunteers come through the department. It really is a life changing thing and there’s nothing better than to give back to the community.”
The volunteer fire department does much more than its name implies. In Beech Mountain, the volunteers provide emergency medical response on the mountain, which constitutes 80 percent of their activities. The department does everything that the community needs to get done, from picking up trash and cleaning up the streets to providing assistance in emergency situations. These volunteers, who Pudney calls the bedrock of the community, are the go-to people for the town.