Meadville Tribune

August 15, 2013

VFD hopes to inspire donations to soccer group

By Mary Spicer
Meadville Tribune

VERNON TOWNSHIP — The gauntlet, well, the fire glove, is down.

Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department President Bill Reichel delivered a $1,000 check Thursday evening to board members representing Crawford County Youth Soccer Association — and challenged other local fire departments to step up, too.

 The association, whose West Mead Township soccer fields and storage facilities were severely damaged late Friday or early Saturday by vandalism and possible arson, was represented by President Chip Fuller, Fuller’s daughter Claudia and board member Steve Cronin. “All of us have kids, and grandkids, too,” Reichel said as he presented the department’s check to Fuller with his own grandson, Noah Reichel, looking on.

Cronin, who spoke of leaving the fields Friday with his soccer-player daughter and his shock the next morning when he was called to the scene, described the outpouring of support for the association as more than he could ever have expected.

Companies and individuals from across the community are stepping forward to help. “When this is all done, everything will be better in the long run,” he said. “It’s all about keeping the facility usable for everybody,” he added. “It’s a great thing.”

From the fire hall, Fuller and Cronin were headed to a meeting to discuss the association’s next steps. Two of the association’s three large fields were damaged in the attack.

Cronin noted that while the association was insured, both for specific pieces of large equipment and general property, at this point they don’t have a clear idea of how the balance between insurance payment and replacement cost will work out.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at