KINGSPORT - Anyone concerned about getting a phone call offering a great concert sponsored by the Kingsport Firefighters Association can rest easy - it's legitimate.
But members of the three-year-old organization as well as city leaders want residents to know that it is not the Kingsport Fire Department or the city of Kingsport conducting the fund-raiser.
"We're not asking for donations. We're not soliciting funds. We're selling a tangible product if people want to attend a concert at a very low cost," said Daryl Hayes, a city firefighter and president of the KFA.
Dave Light, assistant to City Manager John Campbell, released a statement Friday saying that residents and businesses in the Kingsport area have received the phone calls "for contributions to the Kingsport Fire Department."
Hayes disputes that the caller says to the potential donor the fund-raiser is for the KFD. He said the callers have a specific script when they make a call.
"What happens is people misunderstand who the fund-raiser is for. This is for the Kingsport Firefighters Association, not the Kingsport Fire Department," Hayes said.
"We've contracted with a company that organizes two music concerts a year. The caller asks if they want to purchase a ticket for the concert, and we get a portion of the proceeds of the price of the ticket," Hayes said.
The first concert for this year that residents that are being called about now will feature Sammy Kershaw on June 2 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City Hayes said.
"They get a heck of a concert for 20 dollars," Hayes said.
"If people don't want to be on the list, all they have to do is tell the caller to take them off the list."
"It is legitimate. We're registered with the state through the nonprofit regulations," he said.
Hayes said money raised from the ticket sales funds various projects, including office operations of the KFA's new location on Clay Street.
He said the KFA has donated money to the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Red Cross for its Burn Out Fund, the Katrina Relief Fund, and the Tennessee Professional Firefighters Emergency Relief Fund.
"We've also assisted our own members as well as people within the public safety arena when they have needs, and we send our members to different training," he said.
Another program the KFA promotes is providing smoke detectors for anyone who needs them.
"The city has its own program for city residents, but there isn't one in the county. We also distribute fire safety materials to kids and made it available to volunteer departments to hand out," he said.
For more information about the Kingsport Firefighters Association visit the office at 214 Clay St. or call 765-1439.
If anyone wants to purchase a ticket to the June concert, Hayes said they can call FireCo, the company that is handling the ticket sales, at 282-1257.