2000+ ducks race down Antietam Creek in Funkstown for local fire department fundraiser

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FUNKSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Nearly 2400 multi-colored plastic ducks raced down Antietam Creek in Funkstown, Maryland to benefit the local volunteer fire department.

The Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company was able to hold their annual Duck Race on Antietam Creek after the event was put on hold due to the pandemic. Larry Iseminger is a 52-year-veteran of the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company and organized the Duck Race. He explains the department hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year but the Duck Race is one of the more unique and fun events.

“We dump the bags of ducks into Antietam Creek off the bridge leading into Hagerstown. They float down by the legion and we have a finish line set up behind the fire station,” Iseminger explained. “The first duck across the finish line gets a $300 prize.”

Alongside the grand prize of $300, there are 29 other winners who could win cash, gift cards, or grocery cards from the race.

Heather McAllister and her son, Levi, entered 7 ducks into the race. The two traveled from Fairplay to visit family in the area. They were able to purchase ducks before the race started and were more than happy to support another local fire company. Heather says she fully supports firefighters and other first responders and has fond memories with the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company.

“I used to work in Hagerstown at Ruth Anne Monroe [Primary School] and Funkstown would be the fire company that would come over for our kids and they did a great job with that,” McAllister explained. “They care about their community. They care about teaching others about fire safety especially kids and I think that’s just wonderful.”

The Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company heavily relies on fundraising events to help cover operational costs for the station. Iseminger recalls how tough it was for the department to lose that avenue of funding during the pandemic. He stated the department was able to garner some donations from community members but the department was unable to hold traditional events like weekly bingo among others.

Iseminger explained that the yearly operations budget for the station ranges around $350,000. He says portions of the budget are covered by the Town of Funkstown and by the Washington County Government but the station is responsible for the remaining funds. Iseminger expressed his personal gratitude and that of his fellow firefighters for the ongoing support from community members.

“Lots of people in the community support the fire department. We do our best to serve the community and I think the community appreciates that,” Iseminger said.

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