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Hecla to host Westmoreland firemen's convention

Hecla Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ron Kimmel is excited for the Mt. Pleasant area.

"It might just be the biggest thing the township has ever seen," Kimmel said.

Kimmel and his crew have been hard at work planning the 74th Westmoreland County Firemen's Association Convention.

As hosts of this year's convention, set for Thursday through Saturday, the firemen at Hecla have planned a lineup of entertainment and other activities.

"We talked about hosting it for years, and this year we decided to do it," he said.

According to Assistant Chief Tim Kopcho, the department has been working to update its facility in preparation for the event since September.

Music will be offered throughout the three-day event. DJ Adam DeFlorio will kick off the festivities from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday. Switch, a top 40 band, will perform on from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. Gashouse Annie, a country band, will perform from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by another country band, Shooters, from 7 to 11 p.m. Fireworks will conclude the festivities.

Line officers from various fire departments will award trophies in eight classes based on equipment appearance and upkeep of vehicles. Some of the vehicles to be judged include ladder trucks, snorkels, rescue units, heavy and light pumpers, oldest driven vehicle and hand-drawn equipment. Hecla has a 1934 Ford that is still in driving condition. The judging will take place at Mt. Pleasant Area High School prior to the parade Saturday.

A parade at 1 p.m. Saturday will feature volunteer fire departments from across Westmoreland County, marching units, AMVETS Post 94 of United, AMVETS Post 88 of Greensburg, Hecla Veterans Association and ambulance services. Hecla VFD, working with PennDOT, will have the parade route from MPAHS to Hecla closed from 12:30 to 2 p.m. to ensure safety.

Westmoreland County will set up a tent city on the Hecla VFD grounds for firemen to camp and relax.

The event is open to the public. Visitors can enjoy games of chance, children's games, bingo and refreshments throughout the weekend celebration. Fire chiefs from a variety of stations will participate in the dunk tank game. A limited number of T-shirts and coffee mugs commemorating the occasion are on sale.

For more information, visit the Hecla Volunteer Fire Department Web site at www.heclavfd.blogspot.com.

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