Bluffton firefighters help two of their own

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - The Bluffton Township Fire District Cooking Team is back at it, gearing up for their 6th Annual Boston Butts fund-raiser later this month.

Over the past five years, they've helped a number of families due to illnesses in their family. This year, it really hit home. The proceeds from this fund-raiser will benefit two of their own, Lt. Matthew McDowell and firefighter David Rice.

"It's sad on the first part, but it's really great knowing we're helping one of our own, two of our own," said Battalion Chief Todd Harvey.

Rice has been with the department since 2006 and never imagined he'd be on the receiving end of this fund-raiser.

"I went in for a hernia repair and was diagnosed with a rare tumor on my adrenal gland," said Rice. "I'm going to be out of work until at least January and being the bread winner at home. My wife is a stay at home Mom and I've got four children so Christmas is going to be tough this year so this is going to really help out a lot."

McDowell has served the community for 10 years. His life changed several months ago when he and his wife found out their unborn child, they're going to name Juliann has a rare heart defect.

"When she's born and they cut the umbilical cord, she won't be able to breathe on her own so she's going to have to undergo three open heart surgeries to bypass the right side of her heart," said McDowell.

While there's a long road ahead, McDowell says knowing his fellow firefighters are doing their part to help out makes a big difference.

"It really helps not only the financial part of the surgeries and everything that's down the road for us but the emotional strain because you know there are other people there to help you out and are rooting for you," said McDowell.

"I do know the meaning of brotherhood now, words can't explain my gratitude I have towards my fellow firefighters for the brotherhood, they've just really come forward, helped out tremendously, it's great," said Rice.

The fundraiser is on Dec. 17 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Katie O'Donald's, which is next to Food Lion in Kitties Crossing in Bluffton.

Order Boston butts by visiting: You can also contact Crystal at 843.757.2800 or email

Full bone-in-butts are $30. Lunch platters will be sold for $7 per plate.

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