PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The weather was cold Saturday afternoon but business was red hot inside a heated flower tent run by the West Pittston Fire Department.
“This year has been absolutely fantastic,” said Peter Nemshick, West Pittston Fire Department.
That wasn’t a sure thing this year for a Valentine’s Day fundraising tradition that started in 2007. The firefighters almost always sell their entire flower inventory but this time it comes during a pandemic.
“We were a little bit apprehensive of what the community turnout would be given, you know, people’s reluctance to gather in groups but people really, really have come out,” said Nemshick.
“The support is strong. We’ve had people come in from Honesdale and Mountain Top to buy flowers from us this year,” said Lt. TJ Sabetta, West Pittston Fire Department.
Whether the roses were red or pastel, whether the flower order was by the dozen or just a single rose, customer after customer kept volunteers busy.
“We take a lot of pride in what we do as a fire department and volunteers since we’re 100% volunteer. And seeing the people just come out and support us, it’s just great to see it even with the pandemic,” said Chief John Hood, West Pittston Hose Company No. 1.
That support is essential. The sale of these Valentine’s Day roses rises about a quarter of the fire department’s yearly budget.
“It helps provide training, equipment, gear, anything, maintenance on the vehicles, anything that the fire department needs to help run,” said Tami Cannell, Auxiliary Member, West Pittston Fire Dept.
Some flower power for sure to help these heroes help the community they serve.
“Hopefully nobody ever needs us but if they do we’ll be there,” said Nemshick.
West Pittston Firefighters had planned to sell roses again Sunday morning but their fundraiser was so successful, they sold out. They expect the profit to be between $8,000 and $10,000.