South Bend Firefighters Association holds annual Mr. & Mrs. Smoker

NOW: South Bend Firefighters Association holds annual Mr. & Mrs. Smoker

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Mr. and Mrs. Smoker fundraiser held by the South Bend Firefighters Association made a return on Saturday. The annual event pulls in large crowds of people showing support to the retiring firefighters in our community, and since Saturday's was the first one back since the pandemic, a lot of people came out. 

A line wrapped around the South Bend Firefighters Local 362 building Saturday as people made their way inside for the Mr. and Mrs. Smoker event. People were excited to back, since Covid delayed the fundraiser for 2 years.

“We had to skip last year; we just didn’t feel safe," says Eric Griffin, Vice President of South Bend Firefighters Union 362. "It wasn’t responsible for us to have such an event because it does end up as just standing room only a couple hours in; it’s one of the busiest events that we have.”

The goal is to raise money for the Firefighter Union's retirement dinner, and to thank the retirees for their commitment. Cliff Powell is one of the retirees that is enjoying his last smoker as a member of the fire department.

“This will be my last one; I’m retiring in May," says Powell. “For twenty-two years, I was the guy out here working these events, and this is the first one I’m going to that I’m not working.”

Extra money raised at the event will go to various charities that the Firefighter Union donates to.

“We have a few charities that we give money to. Some with our other events that we have during the year we raise money for; a big one is Hoosier Burn Camp," says Griffin. “Whatever we feel is important to us and important to the community we serve.”

Many people who came out were simply showing support to their firefighter friends and family.

“We’ve known a lot of the firefighters that have come through," says event attendee Ashley Szymczak. "We have a lot of friends that have been a firefighter, so some of our friends. It’s really fun to support them because we know that they work so hard, and it’s just a nice thing to be able to support them.”

The next big fundraiser for the Firefighters Union is on Dyngus Day. Visit their Facebook Page to learn more about upcoming events.

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