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Brush fires that broke out in May and June near Simmons Crossing and on Fraser Harris Road, respectively, took a toll on Long County resident Jessica Simmons, who owns Horse Creek Riding Stables.
“The fires back in May were near my house. In June, the fire got near our stables and we had to evacuate all of our horses,” Simmons said. “When these fires happened, the fire department was amazing. During all of these fires, our community over here in Long County came together and showed what we can do when bad stuff happens. So I wanted to do something to give back to the fire department and the community.”
The generous equestrian enthusiast subsequently organized a festival to raise funds for the Ludowici/Long County Fire Department. Last weekend’s event at Horse Creek Riding Stables, which drew a sizeable crowd, included more than 20 booths and exhibits, pony rides, live music, a dunk tank, face painting, a moon walk and a mechanical bull.
People from the fire department and an Air Evac Lifeteam conducted demonstrations as attendees from around the area watched attentively and enjoyed the attractions.
L/LCFD Assistant Chief of Training Randy Combs appreciated the gesture.
“When you have a volunteer department, everyone who is a part of the department is out there for the right reason — they want to help the community and they want to be a firefighter,” Combs said. “When people look at us (firefighters), they always talk about us as heroes, but we’re just a part of the community like everyone else over here.
“We have a great department, but we also have other departments that do a great job — the EMS, the police and sheriff’s office and also the community itself. It takes everyone working together, and we do that over here.”
Simmons was pleased with the festival’s outcome and plans to make it an annual event.
“I’m excited about the turnout today, but I wish it would have been even better,” she said. “I want to do something like this every year, and I hope next year it is even bigger.”