Hundreds of Crabs Perish in Willow Creek
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
Al Hodgson helped start the Willow Creek Volunteer Fire Department (WCVFD) in 1957, after the second building burned to the ground in less than two weeks.
“I think there were five of us at first,” Hodgson said. “At first we didn’t have any equipment to fight fires with, but then we managed to get an old surplus tanker from Alameda Naval Air Station.”
“Then we got a pump and some hose. It was an old used hose, and every time we filled it up, it blew another hole,” Hodgson said. “It was a mess for a while.”
The WCVFD has come a long way since then, with their own fire station and vehicles like their new Type 6 Wildland engine with support for rope rescues, and even two sets of the ‘jaws of life’ for rescuing people who are trapped in cars.
They’re supported by donations and their one big fundraiser of the year: The Annual Crab & Spaghetti Feed.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, volunteers from all over the community were off to an early start preparing the crabs.
Jacques Neukom, local farmer and volunteer firefighter, said, “It’s crazy how much organization goes into it. There was a crew of people up at 4:30 am to start the crab pots.”
“As time went on more people showed up in shifts to crack the crabs and ice them,” Neukom said.
People from all over the community showed up to lend a hand, and many local businesses donated goods to be raffled off during the fund raiser.
Among the many donations was a Mosberg .308 Winchester rifle from Willow Creek Ace Hardware, a barbeque grill from AmeriGas, and a 1930s quilt from Betty Eichelberger.
Coast Central Credit Union donated all of the deserts for the Crab Feed, and Janice Stevens from their Willow Creek branch volunteered to work at the desert table.
“We’ve been supporting the volunteer fire department for years,” Stevens said. “This year we thought we’d donate them and help hand them out.”
Many others also donated their time, or even old family recipes, to help with the fundraiser.
Beverly LaLonde said, “Some kids have grown up helping on the Crab & Spaghetti Feed, and it’s Mike’s mom’s sauce recipe.”
Mike Madsen said, “It is her sauce. She got it from her mother years ago.”
The food was a big hit with the crowd Saturday night, and hundreds of community members filled the cafeteria at Trinity Valley Elementary School.
Lee-Ann Brander said, “We usually have a really good turnout. The community is really supportive.”
The majority of the money from the fund raiser will go towards the building fund for a second fire station.
Nathan Falk, the chief of the WCVFD, had a secret recipe of his own to cook the crabs.
“We’ve been working on this recipe for years. It’s just rock salt and garlic, but it’s the ratio that’s super secret,” Falk said with a grin.