Sunday, October 18, 2009


Wellington – Hundreds packed into a hall at the Lorain County Fair Grounds Saturday night for the Wellington Fire District First Annual Chili Cook Off.

Chief Robert Walker of the Wellington Fire District
said that the event was organized to raise funds for a local group called Well-Help Inc. Well-Help serves residents in our district that are in need of food or clothing. “Over the last several years when our Chili Cook Off guys would go to competitions in other cities they would donate whatever money they won to the Well-Help people. We have also had food drives where we will fill up a couple pickup trucks of food and donate that to them as well – so we have developed a good relationship with them over the years.”

Walker said that the idea of the event has been kicked around for a couple years, but it was decided last year to go ahead. “We took the year to make sure we had everything done right. Our biggest concern was that we had enough power to run all of the cookers and I’m glad to say that was not an issue tonight – we didn’t blow one breaker.”

Chris Stanfield, Brighton Township Trustee and Wellington Fire District Board member, and Jeff Hyde, Councilman for Wellington Village and also a Wellington Fire District Board Member, were just two of the Judges for this year’s Chili Cook Off. Stanfield said that he got involved as soon as Chief Walker asked him to be a Judge. “I have such respect for the Chief so of course I agreed to come here tonight and help out – plus, this is an event that greatly helps our community by supporting Well-Help.”

Hyde said that the Judges met just before 5 p.m. in a room just off the main hall area and were presented with bowls of chili with only numbers printed on them. “We did now know who the Chili belonged to, only the number on the bowl. We were asked to only Judge the Best Overall Chili from the participants and it was not an easy decision. We all took notes as we tried the different bowls and then made our final decision after trying all nine. I will tell you that I am a fan of hot and spicy and the first two bowls were hot and spicy so I had my favorite right away.”

Stanfield said that even though the first two were hot and spicy the event showcased all types of chili. “They had a great selection tonight including chili with chicken that looked like a soup but was very good and a Hawaiian chili as well and that was different but also very good.”

Although Hyde and Stanfield may disagree on the type of chili that is their favorite, they do share the same opinion on the Wellington Fire District. “These are some of the most professional and dedicated Firemen around, I would put them up against any other Department without a doubt,” Hyde said. “From the equipment to the personnel we have one of the finest Fire Departments.”

Stanfield credits Chief Walker with the success of the Department. “Chief Walker is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. He runs a great Department and I’ve just never met anyone like him before. One thing that sticks out is that he is not a reactive Chief but a very proactive one. He makes sure his Department is in the ball and ahead of the game – just a very well run Department that the entire District is proud of for sure.”

Admission to the event was $5.00 or $2.00 with a donation of canned good for Well-Help. As guests made their way from table to table they received a healthy portion of chili and most had bowls with onions or cheese that you could add to the chili. People said that for the admission price and the amount of chili that they were able to load up on it was certainly worth the price. Some say that by the time they made it to the last couple of tables it was hard to finish the chili because they were so full.

Guests received a ballot with their admission and were able to make one vote for best chili.

And the winners are:
Judges Choice –
1st Place – Grafton Township Fire Department
2nd Place – Wakeman Fire Department
3rd Place – Oberlin Fire Department

People’s Choice Award
Rochester Fire Department

There were several raffles going on throughout the evening such as 50/50 and door prizes. I can’t really tell you who one any of those prizes, nor do I care, I can only tell you who took home the Oberlin Fire Department Fire Gift Basket – that would be TMC NEWS! Thanks Oberlin Fire.

In the end though, Chief Walker said that the real winners are Well-Help and the people of the Wellington Fire District.



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