Firefighters’ 20th annual chili cookoff Aug. 25 to benefit burned children

Photo courtesy of Robert Ankrapp
Entertainment at the chili cookoff will be provided by Benny and the Jets and MaTTo.

HEIGHTS — Dearborn Heights Professional Fire Fighters will host its 20th annual Chili Cook-Off and Family Picnic from noon to dusk Aug. 25 at Upper Parkland Park, Ann Arbor Trail between Outer Drive and Evergreen.

In addition to the annual chili cooking competition, the event features a host of family-oriented activities that include food and beverages, a family picnic area, face painting, a moonwalk and other children’s games, and a fire engine water shower. Entertainment will be provided by Benny and the Jets and MaTTo. Donated prizes (for all ages) totaling an anticipated $5,000 will be raffled off at the event.

Proceeds from the day’s activities are donated to the non-profit Great Lakes Burn Camp, where young burn victims (aged 7 to 17) are encouraged to build their self-esteem through the help of trained camp counselors, and by interacting directly with other young burn victims. The camp gives children total access to the “good life” without the constraints of feeling different or not fitting in because of their injuries or disfiguration.

The week-long camp includes camping, kayaking, horseback riding, water-skiing and go-carts. Proceeds from last year’s Chili Cook-off allowed the Dearborn Heights Firefighters, IAFF Local 1355 to send 14 children to this camp at a cost of approximately $500 per child.

Public donations to support event still are welcome
One of the key elements in the firefighters’ ability to sponsor as many children as possible at this year’s camp is their ability to secure public donations.

“Public donations play a huge role in the success of this event, and in our ability to get as many deserving kids as possible to this camp,” said DHFD Capt. Bill Herman, one of the event’s organizers. “This is something we desperately need in order to continue with the success we’ve achieved in past years. Without the public’s help, we would only be able to sponsor three or four kids, as opposed to our goal of sending 14 or 15.”

All donated items (electronic items, toys, tools, retail items, gift certificates and non-perishable goods) are placed on display during the event for viewing by the guests. The items are then raffled to those who purchase tickets for the prize drawing. Subsequently, the more attractive the gift, the more raffle tickets are placed in that gift’s “ticket canister” for the drawing.

Cash donations are also welcome, which are applied directly toward the children’s camp fees. Herman said 100 percent of the proceeds from this event are used to offset the childrens’ camp fees – camp staff members, its board of directors, firefighters, and committee members accept no compensation for their work.

“We hope folks will come out on Aug. 25 for a great event, and find it in their hearts to give whatever they can to help these deserving kids,” Herman said.

To make a donation, make checks payable to Dearborn Heights Professional Fire Fighters Charity Fund (DHPFF Charity Fund), and send to: 1999 N. Beech Daly, Dearborn Heights, MI, 48127, attention: Lt. Philip Hall. Prize donation pickup can be arranged by calling 313-791-3676 or 313-791-9880.