Villagers treat their local firefighters to Thanksgiving Day feast

A group of Villagers treated their local firefighters to a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings in recognition of their hard work.

“Everyone who lives in the Ventura Villas knows how hard these guys work,” said Don Wiley, as he and a number of his neighbors unloaded a van filled with a Thanksgiving feast for the Station 45 team. The station is located on Buena Vista Boulevard directly across from Eisenhower Recreation Center.

Don Wiley hands a dish off as firefighters help unload a Thanksgiving Day feast for the firehouse.

“Franci Miller was instrumental in getting a list together of volunteers and donations to treat the firefighters,” said Wiley.

He went on to indicate that they raised $265 in cash plus many in-kind donations.

The Villagers began cooking the pies and baked goods last night and Wiley started the turkey at 7 a.m. Thursday.

More than a dozen Ventura Villas residents helped prepare the food. As the firehouse’s dining room table filled up for the feast, the fire alarm rang and the firemen ran to their truck to respond to an auto accident. The Villagers were not surprised that the crew was called out and they took steps to keep the food warm and the ice cream frozen. Fifteen minutes later the trucks were back in the firehouse.

Villagers Jack Feest, Deb and Don Wiley, Dave Davidson and Tom Blaszczyk, from left.

Firefighter Geoff Martz, a 10-year veteran of The Villages Public Safety Department, was impressed.

“This is the first time we have had a Thanksgiving feast since I have been with the department,” he said.

He noted that the community has always been supportive but he really appreciated the feast.

Lt. Danny McGoldirck said the dinner went beyond expectations.

Wiley told the firemen that they would also receive a cash donation of money raised, but not spent on the food. Firefighters can donate the money to the charity of their choice.