30,000 Followers? How Would You Celebrate?

By MERRIS BADCOCK | mbadcock@whag.com

Published 08/15 2014 02:42PM

Updated 08/15 2014 06:38PM

(Editor’s Note: Shenandoah Valley Fire is a Facebook scanner page, and not affiliated with any local fire companies.)

WINCHESTER, Va. - How would you celebrate if your Facebook page got over 30,000 followers? If you're Shenandoah Valley Fire (SVF), a Facebook scanner page covering incidents in Northwestern Virginia, then you'd have a ‘Free day.’

"There is no room for greed. You do what you can do, and if you can't do something, you at least give that person a hug, and it means the world,” said Samantha Ames, Deputy Chief of Operations for SVF.

SVF’s Free Day Event is exactly that; if you can haul it, you can have it.

"There’s a lot of need around here, and this is a chance for us to just say, ‘Hey! We've got all this stuff together that people aren't using. Come get it. Come get whatever you need,’" said Amy Carr, a Public Relations Representative for SVF.

SVF is so dedicated to giving back to their community, that even the lunch is free.

"There is a free lunch today! We have hotdogs and water, so there is a free lunch today," said Carr, laughing, when asked if she’d ever heard of the saying, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’

So how did SVF, part Facebook scanner page and part registered non-profit organization, get so many fans? It started in 2011, after a fire in Front Royal.

"That fire happened and I just happened to post the information on it,” said Kristopher Bageant, Chief of Operations for SVF, and founder of the page. “We went from 60 followers to over 400 followers in a matter of 48 hours."

From there, SVF decided to use their platform to also give back to the communities they were covering.

"Once we started introducing the idea to our followers, they were very supportive. Without our followers, this would not be possible," said Ames.

All of the items at the Free Day Event are donated, including raffle items from local businesses, to help the scanner page cover basic expenses.

"We had people out here this morning helping us unload donations. It was amazing. To stand back and watch what we do,” Ames trailed off, tears coming to her eyes. “Sorry, I get emotional," she said, half laughing, half crying.

SVF will continue their Free Day Event through Saturday.

When: Friday, August 15th – Saturday, August 16th

Address: 382 National Avenue, Winchester, Va. 22601

Time: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

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