Vienna Volunteer Fire Department wants to pay back community with contest winnings

VIENNA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department is celebrating a big win–and, it’s $10,000 richer.

A sausage company puts on the annual contest each year, and this year, it was to honor small town heroes.

The volunteer fire department entered the contest hoping to win not just for them, but for the community.

“When we found out about the contest, we said you know why not?” said Assistant Fire Chief Michael Shurley.

And $10,000 later, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department is glad they did.

“Of course, everyone was jumping up and cheering,” said Shurley. “We’ve always known we have a lot of support from our community, and this really just bore that out,” said Shurley.

The firefighters beat out other departments from across the nation in Johnsonville Sausage’s “Best of the U.S.” contest.

Michael Shurley and the other firefighters have been raising the bar for the prize money.

“We’ve done a lot of cookings for other organizations,” said Shurley. “We have a competition barbecue team that’s cooked all over the southeast. And anywhere we went, we always tried to promote Vienna and Dooly County.”

It’s that recognition that the assistant fire chief thinks help put Vienna on the national map.

“We do some fundraising activities to be able to donate to some very specific charities that are dear to us,” said Shurley.

With the $10,000, those charities will continue to benefit.

“We’re gonna put a portion of it to the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, a portion to the American Cancer Society and a portion to the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” said Shurley.

After that, it’s a toss up.

But there’s a new fire station in the works, and funds could head that way.

“The city is working on a plan right now that we hope we’ll be building a new one here shortly and I’m sure as we get into that there gonna be things that crop up that we might need,” said Shurley.

Shurley says it truly was a community effort.

The department received nearly 3,000 more votes than the second-place winner.

He thanked everyone who made it possible.

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