Support The Chief

GERRY – Carl Fransen has been supporting his community for more than a decade as Gerry’s fire chief.

On Saturday, the community will now support him in his battle against cancer.

The friends of Fransen are sponsoring a benefit event on Saturday to help pay for medical expenses and to begin a trust fund for the chief’s two children. Fransen has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

Fransen is in his 10th year as the fire chief in Gerry, leading the department in answering approximately 350 fire and rescue calls each year. Bruce Gustafson, Gerry Fire Department president, said he has been a member of the fire department for about 17 years. He said Fransen joined about the same time he did.

“The least we can do is come together to help one of our own and his family,” Gustafson said.

Fransen is 34 years old, which means he became chief at a young age. Gustafson said that hasn’t stopped him from being an effective leader.

“Everybody seems to like him. He knows his stuff. Surrounding departments get along with him well,” Gustafson said.

One example of how much Fransen has been appreciated as Gerry’s fire chief is the department changed its rules so he could keep the position.

“We had a bylaw that you couldn’t be chief for more than four years in a row before you had to step down to be assistant chief,” Gustafson said. “No one wanted to take the job from him, so we changed the bylaw.”

Benefit activities will begin with a firefighter poker run beginning at noon at the Gerry Fire Hall, 4351 Route 60, with registration at 10 a.m. Participants must be members of a fire department and may enter with fire equipment or private vehicles. The entry fee is $100 per team, with up to four people per vehicle. Additional information can be obtained from Melissa Delahoy at 720-2103.

From 3-8 p.m. there will be a spaghetti dinner in the Rodeo Conference Center on Route 60. Also, there will be 50/50 drawings, a Chinese auction, a bake sale and giveaways. The cost for the dinner is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Additional items for the auction are welcomed. Contact Gustafson at 985-4730 or Tom Atwell at 985-4047 to donate items or for more information.

The highlight donation of the event is an original matted and framed painting by local artist David Miller, which is valued at $3,000. Tickets for a chance at the painting are presently being sold for $5 each, and sales will continue through the end of the event on Saturday. The winner doesn’t need to be present to win. For more information about the tickets, call Gustafson or Atwell.