It was a packed house Saturday evening at the Phat Fish Brewery, as the crowds poured in during the early afternoon for the football games, including the North Dakota State University versus University of North Dakota game -- but the noise at the brewery grew louder still as the "silent" auction began.
Members of the Dickinson Fire Department hosted the public event to bring the Dickinson community together to raise funds for local firefighter Hilary Hartman as he continues his fight with Cancer.
“One thing about Dickinson that is so great is everybody supports others and they support their own.” Kelli Scharf, part owner of Phat Fish Brewing Co., said. “Whether these people would have been here for a Regular Phat Fish night or not, it's an honor to be the place they get to come to support Hilary.”
The Dickinson Firefighting family served members of the community plates of home cooking consisting of pulled pork, corn on the cob and potato salad. They were also given a free pint of beer with each meal, courtesy of Phat Fish Brewing Co.
The silent auction, featuring items donated for the cause, was a complete success with every item receiving bids.
“All items, silent and live auction, were sold," Bob Sivak, fire chief with the Dickinson Fire Department, said “They were really successful with this.”
Sivak added, “I think the weather probably helped because there was a lot of events scheduled to take place in Dickinson… some of those events were outside and I think the weather kind of gave us an edge. I think overall that it helps us more than it hurts us. “
Outside, the street grew cold and looming but the atmosphere within Phat Fish Brewing Co. was lively and warm as its occupants were in good cheer for a good cause.
“We got a pretty good turn out,” Alex Roller, Hartman’s lieutenant, said. “It's good to see this amount of people coming out to support Hilary and a local firefighter.”
Sivak said that he thinks that the total will exceed their goals by a significant margin.
“It was an extremely successful event,” Sivak said, “The Local 5150 Union members, along with our Fire Department and Volunteer Fire Department, are why this happened -- but we want to thank the community, individual and business that donated to make this a success,”
Sivak added, “Thanks goes out to the staff and management of Phat Fish, for working with our committee. It was great to work with them, tremendously.”
Hartman appeared moved by the event, something that the 32-year veteran firefighter showed with his smile.
“The community support for this event and this individual fighting are just amazing,” said Sivak.