The Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company will kick off its "Drive for Life" campaign to purchase a new ambulance with a dance Feb. 28 in the fire hall, 625 Nancy Price Drive.
The volunteer firefighters aim to raise $175,000 to purchase a new ambulance by 2011 -- the 100th anniversary of the founding of the fire company, said Greg Robertson Sr., fire company president.
Robertson noted that, while the fire company contracts with the Village of Youngstown and Town of Porter for fire protection services, ambulance service is covered strictly by donations.
Stan Bailey, chairman of the fund drive, said the company answers 25 to 30 ambulance calls a month.
"We have a 1998 ambulance, and it's way over its limit as far as the mechanics," Bailey said.
Volunteers raised about $90,000 to purchase that ambulance more than a decade ago, he said.
"We need to keep upgrading our equipment to stay with the times," Bailey added. "New ambulances can cost $150,000 to $175,000, depending on what equipment you put on them. We're trying to get grants, but it's tough. And with the economy the way it is, and the amount we're trying to raise, it'll be a struggle.
"But this is something we need to do. We've done it before, and the community stood behind us, and, hopefully, it will stand behind us again."
The dance, to begin at 8 p.m., will feature a 1970s-'80s theme, with guests encouraged to dress in period garb.
Music will be donated by Aiming Higher Productions.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the following Youngstown businesses: Heritage Auto; Main Street Gas and Grille; the Village Diner; the Marketplace; and Victoria's Family Hair Care; or by calling the Fire Department at 745-3324.
Bailey said the firefighters hope to schedule a few fund-raisers each year to reach the $175,000 goal.
Robertson said the drive will likely be a multiple-year effort.
The firefighters canceled their popular Labor Day Field Days last year because of an inability to acquire appropriate rides. But the Field Days are scheduled to return this July 31 to Aug. 2.
All of the money raised during Field Days will go into the general fund to cover operating costs for the fire company, Bailey said, and will not be applied to the ambulance purchase.