Firefighter bowling
By Matt Helm
BELVIDERE ─ The Boone County District II Firefighters hosted their annual Moonlight Bowling Scholarship Fundraiser at Concordia Lanes on Friday, Feb. 12.
“We give scholarships to graduating high school seniors,” Deputy Chief Bob Koehn said. “It’s about having a good time and raising money for kids to go to college. College gets expensive, so hopefully this scholarship gives them money to buy books for a year or for gas money. Every little bit helps.”
The event cost $30 for couples bowling and $11 per person for dinner.
“The event started out as a fun excuse for the firemen to get together and have a good time, and then three years ago we made it into bowling for the scholarship fund so that we could raise some more money,” Koehn said. “This would be the third time we’ve done a buffet style dinner along with it. It’s a long week and that way nobody would have to cook dinner on a Friday night.”
The food consisted of a pork-chop dinner with potatoes, baked beans and coleslaw.
“Everyone is fond of the pork-chops,” fire fighter Nick Sheppard said. “It’s a worthwhile event because you get to drink and hang out with friends while raising money for a fundraiser.”
There were also door prizes, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.
Firefighter bowling 2“More and more local businesses reach out to us every year,” fundraiser coordinator and fire fighter Brent Bryan said. “We have signed memorabilia from Chicago area sports teams and gift baskets and donations from Culvers, General Mills, DIY Yogurt and O’Reilly Auto Parts to name a few.”
Scholarships go to graduating seniors interested in going into emergency medical services, first responder, fire and other public services.
“We have had as many as 30 applicants every year and we have a committee that picks who they would like to give the scholarships to,” Koehn said. “It’s a pretty good turn out and we do well money wise.”
Prizes are given out during the Moonlight Bowling.
“The lights are off and they’ve got music going and lights flashing,” Koehn said. “We give out gift cards to those with the highest game and the lowest game. Everybody has a good time; I’ve never had people complain that they didn’t have any fun.”
Fire fighter Jenny Koehn has watched the event evolve over the years.
“They have so much that they’ve started doing. I don’t think I’ve ever won anything for worst bowling, so that’s a good thing,” Jenny Koehn said. “This is a special event for the fire department to do. A lot of the scholarship recipients participate in the Explorers program at the North Boone Fire Department. It’s training to get high school kids educated and interested in fire service.”
Firefighter bowling 3The Boone County District II Firefighters host a breakfast fundraiser in March and make donuts for the Boone County Fair. Proceeds from these events go towards purchasing new firefighting equipment.
“This is my third time going to the bowling fundraiser,” Captain Don Kownacki said. “It’s one way we can support and entice younger people into fire service and give them money to send them to school.”

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