Last weekend the Winona Hy-Vee grocery store was able to put on an event that combined two of Winona area residents’ favorite things … great barbecue and local fire fighters. The result was so successful that Winona Store Director Dan Welsh was able to present a check for $8,132.93 on Tuesday to the Winona Fire Department.
“We started planning a spring barbecue event back in January, and then decided to turn it into a fundraiser for the Winona Area Fire Department and it just took off,” said Welsh. “We brought the idea to Leighton Broadcasting, and they offered to put Gabe Glidden, one of their announcers, in a steel lift and have him stay there … day and night, until the monetary goal for the fire department was reached.”
Glidden entered the lift on Monday, and kept his sense of humor (and all of his fingers and toes) while enduring two cold nights before the goal was reached on Wednesday morning.
“We reached our $5,000 goal by Wednesday, and just decided to keep on going,” Welsh said. “Our original goal was to sell 500 racks of ribs, but the Winona community really came together and we actually sold over 1100 racks. Two dollars from every rack of ribs we sold went to the fire department so when we combined it with several large contributions including a one-day matching gift from Dahl Automotive we were able to donate over $8,000 to our fire department today.”
“We had great partners in this event in Leighton Broadcasting and the Winona Post,” Welsh continued. “We asked Croix Valley Barbecue from Wisconsin to come over and smoke the ribs for us with the assistance of the Minnesota Barbecue Association. They had the smoker going day and night to keep up with the demand. They did a great job. People just loved the ribs. We are really proud of the Winona community for coming out and supporting our fire department.”
Members of the Sons of the American Legion were surprise attendees at the check presentation and presented a check of their own for $1,000 to the Winona Fire Department.