MEACHAM - This has been a good year for the Meacham Volunteer Fire Department.

The department services the tiny town of Meacham, population somewhere between 75 and 120 depending upon the time of year and the area included. The town itself is nestled in the trees at an elevation of 3,800 feet, almost equal distance between Pendleton and La Grande.

This summer the department was able to purchase an American La France Pumper truck from the city of Adams, and last Saturday volunteer Fire Chief Wayne McEntire and Assistant Fire Chief Carl Glenn took possession of a 1968 wildland firefighting truck donated by the Island City Fire Department.

"It's a big thanks to them all in Island City for that, because it is a really nice truck," said McEntire.

The additional truck increases the department's fleet by 100 percent, from two to four. McEntire and Glenn take care of the maintenance work for the volunteer brigade that boasts between eight and 10 regular members. They are presently refitting the wildland truck to handle a water tank and a pump. They hope to have the new addition ready to go by May, before next fire season starts.

May also will see the fifth annual Meacham Volunteer Fire Department ATV Poker Run the weekend preceding Memorial Day weekend. The run has grown from a 66-person event in its first year, swelling to 485 participants last year. The department also serves breakfast and offers a variety of food for sale during the day-long event that doesn't depend on speed or skill to produce its winner.

"We had one little girl who rode the whole course by herself and she was 3-years-old," said McEntire.

"Then our oldest rider was 83," added Glenn.

Those taking part in the poker run can choose a 25- or 50-mile course and have an opportunity to win quite a bit of cash. Last year one young rider took home $600 for his efforts.

"That is what's neat about it; the Poker Run is designed for the whole family," said Glenn.

The poker run serves as the primary fund-raiser for the department because it receives no funding from state or federal sources. The volunteers depend on donations and money raised during the poker run to meet expenses each year.

For more information or to make a donation to the Meacham Volunteer Fire Department, call 541-983-2666.

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