Fire Department hosts annual lighting of the tree

« Austintown Neighbors

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Blake, Brooke and Brock Palkovich enjoyed cookies at the 31st annual tree lighting event at the Austintown Fire Department on Nov. 29.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Santa Claus greeted children outside of the Fire Station on Wickliffe Circle in Austintown Nov. 30 for the annual tree lighting event.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Cookies purchased with money donated by community members were available to people who attended the 31st annual tree lighting event at the Austintown Fire Department on Nov. 29.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Joyce Podgony, who hosted the tree lighting event at the Austintown Fire Department for the past 31 years, posed with Santa Claus and her great grand children Nov. 29.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The Austintown Fire Department decorated the outside of the fire station with Christmas lights for the annual lighting of the tree hosted Nov. 29.


The Austintown fire station on Wickliffe Circle hosted its annual tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 29.

The event was hosted by Joyce Podgony, who has been organizing the event for the last 31 years.

“The fireman used to put a community tree up in front of the old middle school and that was like 32 years ago,” Podgony said. “My husband and our five children went, and the only people who came were the fireman and me and my family.”

She said that then fire chief Andy Frost Jr. said that they needed to do something to improve the event, and that’s when Podgony and her family got involved.

“So we moved it down here and we got a few trays of cookies and hot chocolate and the fireman spent all their money buying cookies and my husband was making hot chocolate using hot water from the spicket,” Podgony said.

To help the fire department avoid spending all of their money on concessions for the community, she began to reach out to Austintown residents for donations and has been organizing it ever since.

“Its really a community event with community help,” Podgony said.

This year, volunteer members of the Austintown Fitch High School band played Christmas carols for the community. Santa Claus also visited the event, and was driven in by a fire truck.

After the lighting of the tree outside the station, community members were invited to join the fire department inside the station for refreshments and to visit with Santa.

Members of the Austintown Junior Women’s League volunteered to serve concessions to the community.

The AJWL has been volunteering at the event since their creation 24 years ago.

“I want to thank the fireman because they do all the lighting every where,” Podgony said. “And the road and the parks department because of all of their help.”

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