Come to Kidron for the chicken, take home a Jeep

Come to Kidron for the chicken, take home a Jeep

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For 65 years the Kidron Volunteer Fire Department has been serving up some of the best chicken throughout the area, and that won’t change during this year’s annual Fireman’s BBQ Fundraiser on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at Kidron Community Park.

But during this year’s event, a bit of a twist has been added as a way to not only honor a longtime local supporter of the community, but also to give away the prize of a lifetime.

Leading up to the event and at the barbecue itself, tickets to win a brand-new Jeep Wrangler will be sold for $100 with 2,000 tickets available as a way to honor former co-owner of Gerber Lumber & Hardware Eldon Gerber, who passed away shortly after his retirement on Oct. 18, 2021, at the age of 75.

“This spring I was approached by the owners of Gerber Lumber and was asked if we would be willing to help do something to honor the legacy of Eldon,” Kidron Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jon Peters said. “Eldon had always dreamed of retiring, buying a Jeep and doing some traveling, but unfortunately, his time was cut short, leaving a large hole in the community.”

There’s no better way to honor this hometown legend than by going through with his plan for retirement. When Peters began discussing the idea with Gerber Lumber & Hardware President/CEO Kyle Simmons, he said they wanted to be able to raise enough money through ticket sales for the Jeep raffle to be able to split the profits among some of Eldon’s favorite charities, so the brainstorming began, Peters said.

“We decided that the barbecue would be a great place that brings a lot of good people together for a great cause, which just seemed to fit the bill,” he said.

As a longtime supporter of the Kidron Volunteer Fire Department, Simmons said Gerber Lumber knows the necessity of its services to the community, so the business is always willing to step up and do what it can to help.

“In the past that has been through participation at the chicken dinner or helping them build their new station, among other things,” Simmons said. “This year we have a much more significant part in the dinner through the Jeep raffle in honor of Eldon, and we are grateful to the fire department for allowing us to partner with them.

“Eldon’s passing was a shock to many of us. He was a wonderful man who cared deeply about his employees and his community. He was genuine, thoughtful and made everyone feel important. We want to make sure his character serves as a guide for us as we continue as a company, and we felt called to do something in his honor after his passing. So us partnering with the fire department and the other charities associated with the Jeep raffle has everything to do with Eldon’s impact on us personally and his impact on these causes while he was alive.”

After Simmons and Peters spoke and planned the event, the two came up with an idea for whatever money is raised that will be given to the fire department — a new electronic sign that will be located out front of the new fire department building and can get out special messages to the community, Peters said.

“Since the fire department was something that Eldon supported so willingly, we decided that whatever portion of the money allocated for the department would go towards the sign — that we could erect in Eldon’s honor,” Peters said. “It will be something that will benefit the whole community and should last a very long time.”

In addition to the chicken barbecue, which will start at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, and the Jeep raffle, there will be entertainment provided by Bridgestone, a pedal tractor pull, pony rides, doughnuts by Lerch’s, homemade ice cream, Pioneer Coffee and more.

The fire department plans to cook 6,000 chicken halves to meet the demand. Meals include chicken, chips, applesauce, roll and a cookie. The cost is by donation only. As with previous years, drive-thru orders of chicken only will be available, also by donation, at Central Christian High School beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The winner of the Jeep will be announced during the barbecue but need not be present to win. That person can either choose to take home the Jeep or sell it back to the dealership for $40,000 cash. Tickets are available online for $100 each at or at the barbecue before the winner is announced. Proceeds will be divided equally among Eldon’s favorite local charities: Central American Medical Outreach, Kidron Community Fund, Kidron Community Park, Kidron Volunteer Fire Department and Boy Scouts of America.