TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga Fire Chief Jeff Burns knows his firefighters can't do the job alone.
"Sometimes we get busy and take people for granted," Burns said. "That's a big mistake. We need our auxiliary; we need to thank them."
That's exactly what firefighters did recently, serving cake to the 25 members of the Ticonderoga Fire Department Auxiliary while expressing gratitude for 35 years of support.
"Every good fire department has a great auxiliary," said Mary Cunningham, fire company president. "We have the best. It's a quiet organization in town. They don't toot their own horn."
Formed in 1974, the auxiliary supports firefighters at the scene of emergencies and raises money for equipment.
In the first three months of 2010 the auxiliary has donated $4,000 to the fire department that was used for tools and an generator. They also worked with local merchants to purchase a Sparky the Fire Dog costume to be used in fire prevention education programs.
In 2009 the auxiliary donated more than $10,000 to the Ticonderoga FD.
"That's what we're here for," said Jackie Burlin-
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game, auxiliary president. "Whatever they (firefighters) need, we try to to provide it."
Firefighters appreciate the auxiliary's efforts, said Dick Stormer, department safety officer.
"Over the year, every year, the auxiliary comes to us and asks what they can buy for us," Stormer said. "We always have wants and needs and they always help. I've never known a time they didn't."
Stormer noted the auxiliary also assists fire victims, needy families and local charities.
"They do a lot for the community," Cunningham agreed.
Burlingame is one of four charter members still active in the auxiliary. The others are Sheila Witherbee, Lisa Burroughs and Fran Newhall.
Cunningham said the auxiliary helps local taxpayers by keeping fire district taxes in line.
"We depend on their funding help," she said. "We're able to purchase items not in the fire department budget because of the auxiliary. Now days, every penny counts."
The auxiliary raises money through its annual basket party each August and by selling food during weekly fire company bingo nights.