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 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
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 email@example.com.
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."