Arlington firefighters host breakfast

ARLINGTON — For 79-year-old Marvin Simpson, the Arlington Firefighters’ Pancake Breakfast means much more than syrup and strawberries.

Nearly 20 years ago, Simpson received news that would shatter anybody. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The doctors gave him a year to live — at best.

But here he sat, enjoying a stack of flapjacks laughing with son Art Simpson and grandchildren Aubrey, 12, and 15-year-old Lori.

“I will always remember that day when we found out about dad,” said Art Simpson, who was visiting from Los Angeles. “We are blessed to be with him. I look around here and there are so many families, it’s an awesome sight and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

The Simpson’s wasn’t the only family enjoying the event, held Monday, July 4, at Haller Park.

Despite a pancake line that extended nearly hundred yards, family, friends and strangers gathered to help raise money for the Arlington Firefighters’ Association.

“This is a great occasion and the crowd here today is fabulous,” Fire District 21 Chief Rick Isler said. “This has been a complete collaboration between family, friends and a lot of other volunteers. It’s a testament to our community.”

Volunteers started showing up at 5 a.m., mixing close to 200 pounds of pancake mix. But you can’t have pancakes without sausage, eggs and strawberries. There were two pancake and sausage stations, a strawberry station and a coffee stand. The event started at 7 a.m., and the volunteers worked until at least 11:30 a.m. Last year, they served 1,000 dishes and earned more than $5,000.

“We’ve been doing this for 26 or 28 years,” Isler said. “And each year it gets better. The volunteers work so hard, they are the ones who make this run. In fact, I am not the chief around here. They’re my chief.”


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