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Massena Rescue Squad opening doors for 40th year for open house, radiothon


MASSENA - The Massena Rescue Squad will be opening up its doors to the public for the 40th year as part of their annual open house and radiothon on Memorial Day, May 26.

Chief Norm F. Worden said their event, which serves as a fundraiser and a chance for the public to visit with personnel and see equipment, had its humble beginnings at WMSA radio on state Route 420.

“WMSA has been there the whole time. We started out really small out at WMSA. Then it got too big,” he said.

It was moved to the squad’s former location near on Alcoa Bridge Road and, when the squad moved to their current 341 East Orvis St. site, the open house came right along with them.

This year’s event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., following the traditional Memorial Day parade in downtown Massena. Overflow parking is available at An Italian Affair, which is closed for the day.

Mr. Worden said there will something for everyone of all ages.

“One year we got to thinking that it worked pretty good with the kids. It’s more kid-friendly than we’ve ever had,” he said.

Kids will find games this year such as the kid’s ring toss and the ambulance beanbag toss.

“Someone took a picture of an ambulance and superimposed it on a piece of plywood. Wherever there’s a window or tire, they throw the beanbag through,” Mr. Worden said.

He said there will be a “nominal fee” for tickets to play games.

“It’s not like going to the circus or carnival. They will win prizes on the games. Every game has a prize. Every child is going to walk away with something,” he said.

As added attractions, they’ll have two bounce houses, which he said were a big hit last year. SeaComm Federal Credit Union is covering the cost of those.

They’ll also have a dunk tank that will be run by the squad’s dive team. Among the possible dunkees are Massena Mayor James F. Hidy and Chief of Police Timmy J. Currier.

“Possibly some radio personalities will be in there. We’ll probably put some of our divers in there, too,” Mr. Worden said.

Because of the bounce houses, and to open up additional parking, there will be no helicopter display this year, according to Mr. Worden.

“The helicopter was slated to be there, but space is limited this year,” he said.

Like the activities, the types of food they offer has also expanded. There is no cost, but donations will be accepted.

“It started out as just hot dogs and chips. Now it’s hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, baked beans and macaroni salad,” he said. “Because it’s an open house, we don’t actually charge for the meal. We’d appreciate a donation, but if they don’t make a donation, that’s fine.”

The Masons will be on hand again with the Child ID program, and there will also be blood pressure checks, building tours and ambulance tours. Visitors can also pick up a “Vial of Life” donated by Kinney Drugs.

The Vial of Life is a program that allows individuals to provide medical information in advance that can be used by emergency personnel in the case of an emergency.

“It’s something we can see when we get there,” Mr. Worden said.

A silent auction runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features some big-ticket items, he said. There will be minimum bids on some of the larger items.

Among the big items, he said, are four tickets to the New Hampshire International Speedway for a July 14 NASCAR race and four one-day “park hopper passes” for Walt Disney World in Florida.

“One day I was looking online at corporations that donate to 501(c)(3)’s and Walt Disney World popped up. I never in a million years thought I’d get anything. I emailed them and got an email back for four passes,” he said.

Those park hopper passes are good for two years, he noted.

Other silent auction items include a skid of wood pellets from Curran Renewable Energy; two season passes to the Mohawk International Raceway; two season passes to Clarkson men’s hockey for the 2014-15 year; two season passes to St. Lawrence University men’s hockey for the 2014-15 year; a 20-inch boys BMX bike and 20 inch girls BMX bike from Walmart; and a night stay at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort, with $25 Match Play and $25 Resort Rewards Card.

There’s also a one-night stay at the Comfort Inn and Suites; two round-trip air fares from Massena to Boston via Cape Air; and two four-pack tickets to the New York State Fair.

Rather than doing a Chinese auction as they’ve done in the past, they plan to have a “wheel spin,” the rescue squad chief said. Those who pay $5 can win something between $5 and $15; those who play a $10 slot are guaranteed to win something between $10 and $25, Mr. Worden said.

“It’s just something a little different,” he said.

Visitors will also find a donation table, 50-50 raffle and a table with bake sale items.

“It’s a combination fundraiser and open house for us. We make a little money and it goes back into purchasing things that aren’t in our budget. Last year we put a good portion of the money toward jackets and boots,” he said.

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