The Mifflin Township Fire Department hosted firefighters from neighboring communities July 19 for the department's 13th annual Volley Fest -- a day of fun, fellowship and fundraising.

The Mifflin Township Fire Department hosted firefighters from neighboring communities July 19 for the department's 13th annual Volley Fest -- a day of fun, fellowship and fundraising.

Firefighters from Whitehall, Columbus, Upper Arlington and Liberty, Plain and Truro townships joined their Mifflin colleagues in a volleyball competition, helped themselves to burgers and hotdogs from the grill and managed to raise $1,600 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"The guys come out and have fun," said Mifflin firefighter Robert Gault, who organizes the annual event. "It's a good way to raise money."

Gault said the event provides an opportunity for firefighters from other departments to get to know their comrades. He said about 150 firefighters and their families are involved with the Volley Fest.

Firefighter Al Wiggers has been there since it started and grills the hamburgers and hotdogs.

"Unless I'm on duty, I'm cooking," he said. "I love to grill."

Firefighters from Truro Township enjoyed his cooking so much last year that they asked him to cook for their annual golf outing.

Also on hand since the beginning has been Lt. Brian Ray, who said he particularly appreciates the camaraderie -- the opportunity for firefighters to see each other in a different light.

"We're brothers," Ray said. "We like to see each other outside work, too."

Another longtime Volley Fest participant is firefighter Mike Grossman.

"It is a lot fun," he said. "It raises money for the less fortunate."

Mifflin assistant fire Chief Fred Kauser said Volley Fest is a real good time.

"It is wind-down time," he said. "I wish we could do it more often."

Mifflin hosts the volleyball tournament because giving back is what firefighters do, Kauser said. He said firefighters raise money for MDA through a private event and enjoy each other's company.

The Volley Fest was held at Gatsby's on North Hamilton Road.

"I feel it is a positive thing to help the Mifflin fire department fundraiser," Gatsby's manager Doug Vance said. "Anything we can do to help."

The event raises funds for MDA in several ways. Each team pays an admission fee to participate; food is donated; and beer proceeds go to the association.

MDA is a voluntary health agency formed to address 43 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and professional and public health education.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com