HOLLYWOOD, Ark. – For decades, the Hollywood Fire Department has served the largest fire district in Clark County, but now, the team used to helping others is looking for some help of their own.
The fire station they operate out of is falling apart – the ceiling coming off in chunks, panels peeling off garages and the walls full of gaps and holes.
Clark County is covering the groundwork for a brand-new station, but the rest is up to the volunteers and the community they save every day.
In the Hollywood coverage area, the doors of the fire station are always open for those in need.
Bill Rogers is the fire chief for the all-volunteer Hollywood FD. His station was built as a community center in the 70’s and has since fallen into disrepair.
“It’s hard to paint rot and make it stay,” Rogers joked, pointing to the peeling garage full of trucks.
A community fundraising effort is hoping to fix that. Volunteers and neighbors have started a campaign to build a new station, a major assist for the team used to assisting others.
“Once we get the station up and running,” Mikki Hastings, assistant chief of the department said, “we can really increase our capabilities for response.”
Ground has already been leveled for the new station and so far, they’re halfway there, but the team ideally would like another $100,000 to cover the full installation and equipment costs – money that needs to be raised through fundraising efforts and donations.
“Hollywood has done an excellent job raising funds on their own for this,” commended Rep. Justin Gonzales of Arkansas District 19, himself a previous volunteer firefighter. “Now they’re just looking for a little bit of help.”
Gonzales added that he’s looking for grants at the state level to try and help the department out.
Volunteers say they’re looking forward to a brand-new home; one funded and built by the community they serve. Rogers said the act of earning the new station is part of what makes it so special.
“I don’t want the old metal building that you see everywhere you go,” Rogers said. “I want something that Hollywood can be proud of….it means a lot more when you’ve done something for it.”
The latest effort to raise funds is the “real Hollywood” T-shirt campaign.
Hollywood, Arkansas had the name first before the famous California city, and the shirts and other items are not only a way to show hometown pride, but hopefully, a way to help cross the fundraising finish line.
More info on the “real Hollywood” campaign can be found here. Those interested in learning more about Hollywood FD can reach out to the department at firstname.lastname@example.org or on their Facebook page, @fdhollywood.