Charity draw gathering steam


When life gives you a pandemic, you have to make changes.

That is true with the Bothwell-Thamesville firefighters and their annual fundraising effort.

Their 50/50 draw is online this year after nearly three decades of in-person one-day sales at the annual Optifest event in Bothwell.

But COVID-19 has temporarily shelved that event for the past two years, and now the firefighters are running their charity fundraiser online.

Brian Carroll, station chief for Bothwell, said it is progressing well. At press time, the prize payout had topped $40,000 and was ramping up.

People have until 4 p.m. Oct. 16 to purchase tickets. The draw takes place two hours later.

It’s a big change from the in-person draw. First off, the online sales have been going on for weeks. Second, there is no face-to face contact, and third, the winner will be known instantly.

“We have a number-generating system. You just push a button and it comes up with the number, which is linked to an e-mail address or phone number. So we’ll know immediately who the winner is,” Carroll said. “The old way, you had to be present to win and your tickets were entered into a big drum.”

That was last conducted in 2019, and the winner walked away with $53,500.

To purchase tickets, visit


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