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Baltimore County Fire Department Uses Ads On Trucks To Raise Money

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- New fundraising within the Baltimore County Fire Department breaks a long-standing tradition.

Monique Griego explains what it is and how they're doing it.

The Middle River Volunteer Fire Department is rolling around town with some new ink. Now alongside its name and numbers is a local business logo.

"We wanted to make sure our advertisement wasn't tacky. It didn't look like a NASCAR and we did it as tactful as possible," said Lt. Bill Connelly, Middle River Volunteer Fire Company.

The 46-member department is the first in Baltimore County to sell ad space on two of its trucks. The ads on a ladder and engine stick to the red and white color scheme and read "Carroll Home Services Supports Our Community."

Department leaders say ,while the department receives county funding, the majority of their budget comes through fundraising efforts like boot drives and even poker tournaments.

"The returns from some of our fundraising haven't been as good, so this was a good way of achieving that goal," Connelly said.

Baltimore-based Carroll Home Services, which is a cooling, heating and plumbing company, will pay the department a monthly fee for the ad, although specifics aren't being released.

Company leaders say four employees and more than a dozen of its customers currently volunteer for Middle River's fire department.

"They take care of us. This is our neighborhood, our community. They take care of our customers; we appreciate their sacrifice because it is volunteers," said Eric Schmider, Carroll Home Services.

The department says unlike when the idea was proposed in Baltimore City, so far they haven't received a lot of backlash.

The funds from the ads will be used to buy a new power generator.

"Not only will we have power for ourselves and operate under severe conditions outside, the community can also come to our firehouse for shelter and power from events," Connolly said.

This year, Baltimore County leaders say $6.9 million in funding was split between 35 fire companies.

Still, the majority of their money comes from donations, and the county does not tell them how they can raise funds.

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