BERLIN – Want to win a house?
The Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department (OPVFD) is offering people the chance to do just that with its annual house raffle. The department doesn’t trifle with gift baskets or 50/50s, for its biggest fundraiser of the year members are giving ticket buyers the chance to win a brand new home.
“This is our major fundraiser,” said Dan Healy, president of the fire department. “Support the fire department that supports the residents of Ocean Pines. When you call we come, no matter what it is.”
The OPVFD house raffle, set for Sept. 27, has been taking place for more than 20 years. Originally, according to Healy, the fire department would purchase a condo in Ocean City that was in need of repair. After buying it for a cheap price and fixing it up, members of the OPVFD would raffle it off to raise money for the department’s annual expenses. Eventually, the department was able to save enough money to purchase a lot in Ocean Pines itself for the raffle.
Healy says that by working closely with area builders, the fire department has been able to have a home constructed on the site prior to each year’s September raffle.
“We purchase a lot and the contractor gives us the best price he can,” Healy said.
The three-bedroom home being raffled this year, built by Brunori Homes, features hardwood floors, granite countertops, a porch, garage and deck.
“It’s very nice,” Healy said, adding that its appraised value was $245,000.
For $100, anyone can purchase a chance to win the Sandyhook Road home. Just 3,500 tickets are being sold. Participants could have a better than one-in-3,500 chance of winning though, as Healy reports sales have been slow this year. As of Sept. 16, the OPVFD had sold 2,500 tickets.
They’ll remain on sale though, until 10 minutes before Sunday’s 4 p.m. drawing. Healy expects a crowd of at least 50 people to come out for the drawing, which will be held in front of the home at 99 Sandyhook Rd.
While most of the spotlight is on the house in this year’s drawing, the winner does have the option of taking the home or $100,000 cash. That, however, doesn’t usually happen.
“They normally take the house,” Healy said. “A lot of people want to move right in.”
The OPVFD house raffle is the organization’s major fundraiser each year. The money generated through ticket sales goes right back into the fire department’s general fund, where it helps cover costs for everything from employees to equipment.
“It funds everything,” Healy said.
He said the department struggles to meet the needs of the growing community. Because of the high number of EMS calls OPVFD handles, the department is now keeping three paramedics on duty 24/7. It’s also developed a swift water rescue team to aid in the event of hurricanes or other major storms. In addition, Healy says equipment always needs to be replaced and operating expenses need to be paid.
“We’re trying to maintain the best because that’s what we believe the residents of Ocean Pines should have,” Healy said.
He added that the organization was always looking for new members and was also starting an auxiliary group to support the fire fighters.
For information on the OPVFD or to purchase a raffle ticket, call 410-641-8272.