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Local wrestling group to wrangle money for fire department

VAN BUREN, Maine — Aroostook Wrestling Excellence is going to bring Franco Varga and hall of fame professional wrestler Redemption to the Van Buren Community Center Nov. 10 to raise money for the Van Buren Fire Department.

AWE is a local wrestling charitable group that has been raising money for charitable causes and groups for the last three years. The organization is celebrating its 3rd anniversary in Van Buren where at least a third of the ticket sales along with revenue from a 50/50 raffle and all concession sales will go to the Van Buren Fire Department to purchase a special hydraulic rescue tool.

The Ram tool the fire department wants to buy uses a piston to pry crumpled metal or objects apart and often is used to free people trapped in crashed vehicles or even buildings, according to Van Buren Fire Chief Brian Caron.

The department has held a bottle drive and began to sell calendars for a daily money raffle during the month of January in 2019, according to Caron, but hasn’t quite reached its $7,000 goal.

That’s where AWE stepped in.

“We jokingly said at one of our meetings that we should get some wrestlers here for an event to raise money,” Caron said. “And, ironically, a few days later I got contacted by Von [Taggart, owner of AWE]. It was meant to happen.”

Taggart contacted the Van Buren Fire Department after hearing it was trying to raise money for new equipment that grants weren’t going to completely cover.

“We may not have expensive or top of the line equipment but we take pride in what we do have,” Caron said Monday.

Taggart said that at least one third of the ticket sales from the Nov. 10 event will go toward the fundraising efforts. All proceeds from the 50/50 raffle also will go toward the department as well as profits from the concession stand, which will be run by Van Buren firefighters.

“We are very thankful that the AWE reached out to us to help us out with our fundraising efforts,” Caron said.

The show will start at 6 p.m. at the Van Buren Community Center Saturday, Nov. 10. Tickets will be for sale at the door for $10 for adults and $6 for children aged 10 and under.

“If you want a high action entertainment show to enjoy with the family — it is kid friendly” Taggart said. “It is also to support the local fire department and the more people there, the better the show will be.”

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