Windber Fire Department/Northern EMS and Conemaugh Township EMS fundraiser

Northern EMT Lt. Michael Novak (center) holds several tickets of the $40 chances that will benefit both the Windber Fire Department/Northern EMS and Conemaugh Township EMS. Standing next to Novak are (from left) Windber fire Chief Bob Haddad and Conemaugh Township EMS manager Terry Ruparcic.

At this point during the annual fundraiser, members of the Conemaugh Township EMS and Windber Fire Department would typically go door to door to sell remaining tickets, EMS Manager Terry Ruparcic said.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to that, which has left both agencies in a lurch.

“It’s very difficult times,” Ruparcic said.

The organizations have teamed up for the annual drive for roughly the past 10 years and the money raised helps both with operational costs.

Normally, the two have a gun ticket, but this year they decided on an Ultimate Prize and Cash Giveaway.

The $40 ticket is based on the 7 p.m. PA Pick 4 of the daily lottery and has a plethora of prizes on it from cash and laptops to gift cards, digital cameras, TVs and more.

There are four numbers on each ticket and drawings are done everyday from Feb. 1 to April 30.

“There’s really something on that ticket for everyone,” Windber Deputy Fire Chief Anson Bloom said.

Out of a total of 2,500 printed, the agencies have a few hundred left.

Ruparcic said sales for the raffle opened in November of last year and saw a good response at first. 

Since then, tickets haven’t been moving as much and the groups want to give them a boost, especially after an already slower-than-normal previous year.

Fundraising efforts for first responders have been tough for several months because of novel coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

Bloom said the fire department has been “handcuffed and limited” in what it could do.

The agency is $90,000 in the red regarding fundraisers and that will have a lasting effect, he added.

Ruparcic said everyone is “really hurting” because of the pandemic.

Anyone interested in a ticket can stop by or call either the EMS

station, 1075 Tire Hill Road, 814-288-1990; or the Windber Fire Department, 1620 Somerset Ave., 814-467-7111.

Payments can be made over the phone or mailing a check for $40 to one of the organizations.

In these scenarios the members will fill out a card and return the stub.

More information and links to pay online can be found at the agencies’ Facebook pages.

“We try to give everybody an option,” Ruparcic said.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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