Wednesday, August 07, 2013
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Firefighters to be honored during Oasis fundraiser Sept. 15

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[August 07, 2013]  The Saturday after the Oasis fire in downtown Lincoln, area merchants stood about talking of how terrible the blaze was for the venerable old building. But they also remarked how fortunate they felt that their businesses were not also destroyed in the great conflagration.

Downtown business owner Mike Fak said that storefront businesses on Pulaski Street were extremely thankful for the efforts of the 15 fire departments as well as the first responders who came on the scene to battle the late-afternoon blaze.

"We all talked about what an amazing job those men and women did to prevent the flames from spreading," he said. "The entire block of 500 Pulaski has common walls, and if the firefighters didn't contain that fire, there could have been devastation to the square that could have taken years to recover from."

From that day, talk of doing something to say thank you to the firefighters began.

Discussions ensued with Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder, Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs, Main Street Lincoln director Bill Hoagland, Logan County Board member Andy Anderson and several businesses. The decision was to have a family picnic for all 15 departments, plus first responders and their families, with the costs paid for by residents of Lincoln. It was also decided that this was the perfect time to start a concerted donation drive to help the Oasis rebuild.

The picnic day will be Sept. 15, from 1 till 4 p.m., on the 500 block of Pulaski Street. There will be a family-style picnic for all those involved with helping contain the blaze and for their families.

The general public is invited to attend.

A special showing of photographs of the fire will be on display at the Lincoln Art Institute, on the McLean Street side of the square. Prints will be available for purchase, with all proceeds from their sale going to the Oasis. Some prints will also be available to the firefighters at no cost.

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The mayor made a point that donations of time and effort are appreciated and that all cash donations that go beyond paying for the costs of the event will be turned over to the Oasis. Currently many of the items needed for the picnic are being supplied by area businesses free of charge. Fak said the hope is that there will be only a small cost for the picnic, if any, with the great majority of funds collected going to the Oasis.

A special bank account under the auspices of Main Street Lincoln has been set up at State Bank. Checks should be made payable to "The Oasis Fire Fund." Checks or cash donations can be dropped off at any State Bank location, or checks can be mailed to State Bank of Lincoln, P.O. Box 529, Lincoln, IL 62656.

People interested in helping with the event can email

The mayor recalled his emotions during the blaze. "I went up and thanked one of the volunteer firefighters for coming to Lincoln and helping us fight the blaze," Snyder said. "He said we would have done the same for him if it was his town. But this time, it wasn't his town, it was ours, and we look forward to thanking all who came with a special day."

[Text from file received]

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