With help from the Modern Woodmen of the America, the Corinth Fire Department has purchased a new Sparky mascot costume.
“Sparky was getting pretty old and worn out,” said Training Officer Jerry Whirley. “He was around 10 to 12 years old, and we needed a new one.”
With the current mascot sliding toward old age and decrepitude, Whirley said members of the fire department started discussing ideas for purchasing a new Sparky suit. That’s when they ran into retired fire captain and Modern Woodmen member Reggie Rickman.
“We heard the fire department was in need of a dog suit and thought we’d get involved and help them out a bit,” said Rickman. “And that’s what we did.”
Fire department members sold raffle chances on a cooler to raise money, and with the help of a matching grant from the Modern Woodmen, they soon raised the money needed for a new Firepup suit — just shy of $3,000.
Developed by the National Fire Safety Council in 1986, the Firepup is an important component of efforts to educate local youths about fire safety. The large Dalmatian character finds a fun way to teach about burn prevention and safety issues.
On the local side, Sparky welcomes students to tours of the fire station, visits elementary schools to spread his message of fire safety, hands out fire safety stickers, fire helmets and coloring books and participates in all kinds of fire safety events in the area.
The new and improved costume features a large head with helmet attached and a built-in fan, a shirt with attached mock suspenders and buckles, a pair of black drawstring pants with an attached tail, a yellow vinyl fire coat, white fur gloves and a pair of oversized adjustable boots.