Funning for the firefighters
By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– They’re on-call 24/7/365, ready at a moment’s notice to drop whatever they’re doing and respond to your call for help. They’re the firefighters who make up 14 fire departments in Johnson County, and North Liberty-based comedian Nathan Timmel would like to give them a little help.
Timmel has organized a fundraising event to benefit the county’s public safety servants, to be held Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Mill in downtown Iowa City beginning at 7 p.m. Comedians Mike Marvell, Colin Ryan and Bobby Ray Bunch will join Timmel for an evening of hilarity. Proceeds from the $5 cover charge will go to the fire departments as well as the Johnson County Ambulance Service (JCAS) and the County’s Emergency Management Association.
The majority of firefighters in the county are volunteers in the smaller communities. Equipping a firefighter in protective clothing and equipment can easily exceed $1,000. Multiply that by the 20 to 30 members in a typical department, and the cost adds up fast. Add the expense to replace outdated equipment and provide the latest training, and a fire department’s budget gets stretched thin.
Most departments do some kind of fundraiser, such as a pancake breakfast or a soup supper, which helps with expenses not included in the budget. Timmel hopes his 5th Annual Comedy For Charity event, benefiting the fire departments in Johnson County, will give the county’s bravest a boost.
Comedy For Charity got its start when a friend of Timmel asked him what he’d charge to perform at a charity event for the leukemia and lymphoma society.
“You’re buying lunch right?” Timmel responded, and if so, “we’ll call it even.” A year later Timmel put on a show for a man seriously injured in a car-motorcycle accident, raising approximately $4,000 to help with medical expenses.
“After that night, I said, ‘we should do this every year’,” said Timmel. In 2011 his comedy event benefitted St. Balderick’s, a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research. Last year, English River Outfitters, an organization for veterans near Washington, Iowa, was the benefactor.
“And this year, firefighters,” Timmel said.
Learn more about Timmel at his website, www.nathantimmel.com.