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Halligan’s Drive For ESA’s

January 4, 2021

Members of the Weston Volunteer Fire Department finished their annual Halligan’s Drive to Make a Difference by delivering a big donation to a local animal shelter on Christmas Eve in helping to support animals in two area counties.

When visiting the Weston Volunteer Fire Department, guests are always greeted by Halligan, the department’s 5-year-old Dalmatian.

He has become the face of the department in many ways, and when he is not lounging around the department, he is visiting Lewis County schoolchildren during Fire Prevention Week every October or greeting people as they walk down the sidewalk in front of the station that is located in downtown Weston.

Halligan has come to represent a bigger cause over the past five years, however: Halligan’s Drive to Make a Difference. The annual drive collects donations for the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility that is located in Buckhannon. During the month of December, supplies are collected, and then on Christmas Eve, members of the Weston Fire Department deliver the donations to the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility. Since its inception in 2015, the drive has only gotten bigger, with more individuals and even a few local businesses joining in to help shelter pets.

WVFD Assistant Chief Keith Talbert said the idea for the shelter donation drive came about at the same time he was looking for a dog of his own. He visited the shelter, which left him feeling downcast about the state of affairs for the discarded pets.

That bitter moment turned a little sweeter, though, when Halligan became the face of the donation collection.

“Halligan is such a well-known entity, so we figured we’d use him to be the mascot for the Drive to Make a Difference,” Talbert said.

How did Halligan come to live at the oldest fire department in Lewis County? Firefighters will often visit stations when they are in other towns or cities. One day almost six years ago, a former firefighter from another town walked into the WVFD and asked why it didn’t have a Dalmatian in its department.

That same firefighter offered not only the name of a breeder, but to purchase the dog, as well. Talbert was president of the volunteer organization at the time, and at their next business meeting, members voted to get a Dalamatian.

Talbert and three other members traveled to Pennsylvania to bring Halligan to his new home. He was the runt of the litter, and at 12 weeks old, he was the same size as the eight-week old puppies that were on site.

“He was a leftover. I just felt like he deserved it (a chance),” Talbert said.

When it came to naming the dog, members knew they wanted his name to have relevance in the fire service, Weston Fire Department Chief Kenny James said.

“Two or three names were tossed around, and members decided on Halligan,” James said.

The name comes from the tool, Halligan Bar, which is used for prying, twisting, punching, or striking. It can be used to sink the pick into the door frame near the door handle and then force the door. Another option is to use the tool to pry the door off the top hinges, knock down a wall in a house to get to another area, make a purchase point on a car hood to cut the battery, break glass on a car or building for access or ventilation, or driven into a roof to provide a foothold for firefighters.

“We carry one on every truck,” James added.

Members of the department say this year’s Drive to Make a Difference was a success. In total, the department was able to collect: 400 lbs of dry dog food, 5 cat collars, 26 dog collar/leash combos,10 extra dog collars, 3 brushes,14 gallons of bleach, 63 rolls of paper towels,13 containers of cleaning wipes, 200 lbs of non-clumping cat litter, 367.5 lbs dry cat food, 69 cans of cat food, 7 bags of cat treats, 36 cans of dog food, 96 lbs of dog bones, 21 bags of dog treats, 11 dog bowls, 8 cat bowl, 1 can of disinfectant spray, 6 bottles disinfectant cleaner,3 bottles bleach spray cleaner and miscellaneous toys.

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