Smell of Rescue 33 doughnuts coming soon

Marianne Gillespie
Rescue 33 doughnuts will be on sale at the end of March this year.

Chillicotheans who were afraid that they would not get their Rescue 33 doughnut fix this year can rest easier: they’ll be hot in a few weeks.

Rescue 33’s Ron Hedden, who is coordinating the annual Donut Days, said this year’s sale is planned to be a week or two later than normal.

Usually held around the same time as St. Patrick’s Day, the 47th annual Donut Days instead will be at the end of the month, March 28-30.

All aspects of the sale will be the same as in previous years, Hedden said. A dozen doughnuts is $5 and includes plain, chocolate and vanilla iced with sprinkles, cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar. Local businesses are expected to have the boxes available, and those with special orders can come to the Rescue 33 garage at the corner of Santa Fe and Truitt avenues.

Where the funds go is the only thing that could be different about Donut Days.

Previously, funds raised from the sale went to the operation of Rescue 33’s “no charge for delivery” ambulance service. Volunteer EMTs staffed the service since 1966 until recent years when some were paid on a part-time basis.

Rescue 33 is still working on regaining its license to operate.

“We still have a positive attitude,” Hedden said.

A staffing shortage and slow response times eventually led to the squad’s license being suspended by the Peoria Area EMS system.

Rescue 33’s tones went silent in September 2012, and Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois began covering the squad’s coverage area.

Since that time, the Chillicothe City Council enacted an ordinance that an ambulance service provider had to have a license to operate in the city, and only one can be active at a time. The council authorized AMT to be the provider in July 2013.

In October, Hedden announced plans to establish the Rescue 33 Community Foundation, based on the main tenant of Rescue 33: helping those in the community.

Funds from Donut Days, as well as Rescue 33’s previous regular fundraisers such as Claud-Elen Days and Bailey’s Labor Day Breakfast, will be used in the community, Hedden said, for anything that a non-profit group would support.

“If we do get the ambulance back then it will go to the ambulance,” Hedden said. “If we don’t the get the ambulance back then it will go to the community foundation. The money will not be wasted. It will be for the community.”

Last year Donut Days raised more than $25,000, which was less than in previous years. In 2012, more than $43,000 was raised and in 2011, more than $37,000.