PALMER — For those with a robust appetite, there is an opportunity to fill those bellies while potentially save lives and fund the dreams of first responders this Saturday.

The Palmer Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a fish fry at its station from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. to help cover the expenses of five of its members who plan to attend the Texas A&M Fire School in July.

According to Texas A&M website, the 88th annual municipal fire school runs from July 23-28 and covers a broad range of topics along with hands-on training. Classes are lead by highly qualified and experienced instructors. Members of fire prevention, suppression, control and safety personnel from municipalities, industries, state and federal agencies as well as the armed services attend these classes.

“Fire school gives them different firefighting skills that they can gain throughout the week. It is anything from first aid like Emergency Care Attendant classes all the way up to advanced firefighting and everything in between,” Palmer Assistant Fire Chief Ricky McElhaney said. “It’s training that they can get that we many not have available here. You have different instructors from various departments that come down. The skills they have they share with other departments. It is very valuable.”

The Texas A&M website also explains that each year the fire school trains more than 81,000 emergency responders from all 50 states and 45 countries. The school offers emergency response training and instruction in more than 130 areas.

McElhaney stated that the classes cover all types of situations that a firefighter might face in the field, such as vehicle extrication, grass fires, structural firefighting, trench rescues, transportation emergencies and agricultural rescues. The cost of the weeklong school is $625 per student.

“The cost for the school is budgeted through the fire department. This fundraiser will help with expenses like meals and hotel. These guys are also taking off time from work and using vacation hours to attend this school,” McElhaney explained. “What we have normally done in the past they have come back and shown us what they have learned and share it with the rest of the guys who then benefit from it as well.”

The fish fry will take place at the Palmer Fire Station From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday. The station is located at 113 W. Jefferson St in downtown Palmer. The menu will feature fried catfish, fries, hushpuppies and a drink. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children.

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