By JOHN ARBTER
Eighteen four-man teams competed in the 16th annual Land’s End Volunteer Fire Department Golf Tournament Saturday June 22.
A plethora of donated prizes, including Cleveland golf clubs and a Henry repeating rifle, heightened the sense of competition.
Established in 2003, the volunteer fire department (VFD) has come a long way since its inception.
Now in his 10th year at the helm, Fire Chief Rick Nichols recounted how the VFD started with an old milk truck as its primary equipage.
Through the generosity of many local residents, the VFD now maintains six trucks: three field trucks, a medical truck, and two tankers. They are housed at the immaculately maintained Land’s End Fire Station on County Road 1970.
The fire station serves not only as the department headquarters, but also as a social and business meeting place for the Land’s End communities. “There is seldom a night when it is not in use,” stated Nichols.
The department responded to 125 calls last year, of which approximately 75% were medical assist calls. Given the age of the local populace, remoteness of many of the residents, and the large area, the department’s work is vital to the safety and security of lake residents.
“We are under contract with the county to cover the whole area south of Highway 515 and between the bridges,” Nichols explained. He went on to describe the excellent support relationships that exists with the surrounding departments of Yantis, Quitman, and Alba.
The annual tournament remains critical to maintaining the department. Nichols specifically highlighted the work this year of Patriot Sporting Challenge Director Garry Schnabel is securing a rush of new support for the tourney. He also recognized Land’s End VFD secretary and treasurer, Vivian Wood. “I couldn’t do without her,” he noted.
All in all, some 60 volunteers staged the tournament. The Links at Land’s End General Manager Hunter Smith described the annual tournament as “entertaining for all the players.” He described how the involvement of the volunteers on the course and the method of awarding prizes encouraged everyone to come out and participate regardless of skill level.
Always looking to expand services, Nichols hopes that the success of this year’s tournament will help in establishing a two-bay substation at the intersection of FM 515 and state Hwy. 154. “It would greatly assist on response time, and help in lowering property insurance rates.”