WAYNE COUNTY– For the Lake Ariel Fire Company, the pancake breakfast on Sunday marked the beginning of a recovery.
It was the first fundraiser since Aaron Rossignol, the former company president, was criminally charged, accused of stealing more than $8000.
Prosecutors said he copied the department’s fuel credit cards, and used them for himself between April of 2011 and January of 2014.
Mark Cowger, who replaced Rossignol as president says, “I have known him for a long time, it’s just hard to believe you know. ”
Joan Egans’ eyes welled with tears just thinking about it. She says that 5 years ago the department put out a fire at her home. “It wasn’t a big fire but they were very careful about not destroying things.”
Like many volunteer departments, Lake Ariel relies on fundraising events like the pancake breakfast and an Easter egg hunt scheduled for April 19th.
The need is now greater, after the loss.
Deputy Chief Alex Rae said, “It jeopardized the whole operation of this department, it’s not going to stop us, we’re going to continue on.”
Not only did the alleged theft siphon away money, it also damaged morale. However, support from the community is lifting firefighters’ spirits.
Patty Dennis said,”They are all volunteers, they put their lives on the line every time they go out. It was a disappointment for everybody, we’re here to support them all year long.”