Sam McCoy wants to bring that back.
As fire chief he is starting with the upcoming 40th celebration of the department’s founding to remind people of those days and the festival called Normanna Days.
At noon Saturday, the town will look quite different as hundreds are expected to attend the celebration.
At the heart of this community right now is the post office and fire station. The postal service will be reducing the hours the office is open to four daily.
“As long as we keep our post office there. That is where everybody meets,” he said. “I would hate to see that go. It would really isolate the community.”
But while the post office is shrinking, the fire department is growing.
“It is a privilege for us to do what we are doing,” McCoy said. “We have had to use a lot of our own money. You are fighting it uphill.”
Tracie Sanders, department secretary/treasurer, said that she hopes the celebration will be just another reminder of the change to the department.
“I am hoping with what we have done it will help bring the community back the way it used to be,” she said.
The department hit hard times a while back, and support from the community dwindled. But times have changed, as can be seen by ticket sales for the department’s benefit gun raffle.
“I have very few tickets left,” he said. “We are going to run out before we have the raffle.
“We have been so blessed.”
McCoy said that they hoped to sell 1,000 tickets and, as quickly as they are going, he will reach that by Saturday.
In one day, he sold about $2,500 worth of tickets.
“It was just a blessing,” he said. “It was almost too emotion to comprehend.”
McCoy isn’t going to take credit for the turnaround of the department. He just isn’t that type.
“It was the good people coming into the department that helped turn it around,” he said.
McCoy didn’t come to Normanna with the idea of being fire chief. He came there to retire.
“I just wanted to lay back and take it easy,” he said. Yeah, he helped out around the community, picking up trash and mowing tall grass when he saw it.
Some of that grass was around the old Normanna school building owned by one of the Beck brothers. For those watching, keep an eye on this building. McCoy says it could one day become a community center of sorts for this town.
“I really love the community and Bee County,” he said.
For those wanting to help the department, there might still be a ticket or two left in the gun raffle. If not, there are always the barbecue plates and festivities this weekend.
McCoy said members will be serving up plates of sausage and beef with all the trimmings for only $5 a plate. For kids under 10, plates will sell for only $3.
Tickets for the gun raffle are $20 each. And for those who invest $100 in a purchase of five raffle tickets, the department will throw in a free ticket.
The weapons are being provided by Americana Arms, a local gun dealer.
Ticket holders will have a chance at winning a Smith & Wesson sport, AR-15 that can shoot both 5.56mm and .224-caliber ammunition, an ATI 1911 pistol that shoots .45 ACP ammunition and can be changed out to fire .22-caliber rimfire rounds.
There will also be a Cimarron Frontier, single-action, .357 Magnum revolver, a Henry blued 30-30 lever action rifle, a Henry Big Boy 44 with a brass receiver, a Ruger Tactical Mini 14 and a Ruger 50th anniversary NRA 10-22, semiautomatic rifle.
The big prize will be a Thompson, 1927A-1 semiautomatic “Tommy Gun.”
All of the money raised will go to help the fire department make needed repairs and continue to grow.
“These last five years have really meant a lot to me,” McCoy said. “Hopefully, I can stick around for a few more and continue helping out.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.