The Murrayville/Woodson auction has been cancelled indefinitely. There is, however, a new fundraiser with an event happening Monday night – a Queen of Hearts drawing at 7 p.m. at the Triangle Bar in Woodson.
Bob Van Bebber is President of the Murrayville/Woodson Emergency Management Service and spoke with WLDS/WEAI News recently to explain why the auction was cancelled.
“A little over thirty years ago, me and another member, that being Eric Macon, started the auction to raise funds for Murrayville/Woodson EMS. We are a volunteer agency, so all of our operating costs must be covered by fundraisers. It turned out great for several years, but changes in the economy, as well as farming operations and equipment, made it harder as we went along. Last year was probably one of the smaller one’s we’d ever had.”
Van Bebber says the collective effort to continue the auction was no longer secure.
“It’s also really hard getting volunteers. It takes probably close to 100 people to put the auction on. You start either two or three weeks before the auction and work a whole week after. It was just decided that we didn’t have enough staff. We’re starting an education program right now, trying to get more EMTs on board. Everybody knows America Ambulance left Jacksonville, and that has caused a great strain on the local EMS system.”
Van Bebber details the EMT class and duties of a Murrayville/Woodson volunteer EMT.
“We’re going to start this class probably in the next 30 days. We will pay for the books and for the class. For that, you serve one 12-hour shift per week as a volunteer to be on the squad. We like to have Murrayville and Woodson area residents, but we do have people that live in Jacksonville and other areas come and stay the night or all day in the building. We honestly just need the help, and we’ll do anything we can to work with you.”
According to Van Bebber, the Murrayville/Woodson EMS hopes to start a new tradition.
“We’re going to start some other things to replace the auction. Everything has its time, and I think now is an opportunity to evolve and start something different. At this time, we’re doing a Queen of Hearts drawing at the bar and grill in Woodson. We just encourage everybody to join in with us. If you want to join the squad, absolutely let me know, and we’ll go from there. And we’ll have other fundraisers coming up, too.”
The first ever Murrayville/Woodson EMS Queen of Hearts drawing is Monday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $1. For more information on joining the Murrayville/Woodson EMS as a volunteer technician, call Van Bebber at 370-7728.