deland firefighters gather at new table
BEACON PHOTO/NOAH HERTZ TAKING A LOAD OFF — After more than an hour of figuring out the logistics of relocating a table that weighs several hundred pounds, these DeLand firefighters take a break at their new custom-made table. Many meals will be shared and enjoyed around this table for decades to come in Fire Station 81. Clockwise, from left in front, are Jeff VonBretzel, Trent Sanders, Kyle Grace, Josh Brown, Jamie Lundsford, Justin Desy, Randy Bruce and Mike Mueller.

DeLand’s Fire Department got a brand-new, handmade dining-room table to eat meals on, courtesy of a number of DeLandites and Downtown merchants who came together to make it happen.

It all starts with the Fire Department. The newly opened Fire Station 81 at 343 W. Howry Ave. features state-of-the-art facilities and a lounge where DeLand firefighters can take meals and blow off steam between calls. The only thing missing? A table for the firefighters to gather around.

The Fire Department went to Anna Bananas Home Market in Downtown DeLand. Co-owner Paul Venturini said the Fire Department asked if they could help them find a table, but a table requires quality wood, and Venturini knew just whom to see about that — Mark Shuttleworth, owner of the business next door, Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques.

Just weeks earlier, Florida Victorian had salvaged 100-year-old pine from a to-be-demolished home in Winter Haven. The wood was in great shape, Shuttleworth said, and he was happy to see it go toward such a good cause.

“It’s about community,” he said.

Once the wood was transported to DeLand, Venturini and his son, Colin Venturini, put together the slab that would serve as the tabletop.

When it came to the legs, DeLandite Danny Sorensen added a custom touch — laser engraving. Sorensen engraved the legs of the table with the logos of the DeLand Fire Department, Anna Bananas and Florida Victorian.

The businesses donated all the labor and wood necessary to create the table.

Once it was complete, the table, which weighs hundreds of pounds, had to be moved. On the morning of Feb. 1, a squad of DeLand firefighters arrived at Anna Bananas with a trailer ready to relocate the table.

Once it was moved onto the trailer — the table only had to move a few feet, but it still took 10 people — the table was driven to the Fire Station, just a few blocks away.

HOW MANY FIREFIGHTERS DOES IT TAKE TO MOVE A TABLE? — The solid wood table is so heavy that it takes a team of 10 to move it just a few feet from the back door of Anna Bananas Home Market to a trailer. Lifting are DeLand firefighters Trent Sanders, Ariel Silvestri, Randy Bruce, Mike Mueller, Anna Bananas Home Market co-owner Paul Venturini, Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques owner Mark Shuttleworth and three members of the Florida Victorian staff, Rodevia Chambers, Winston McGregor and Barrington Bryan.

Modern problems require modern solutions

Problem: The Fire Station dining room is on the station’s second floor and the incredibly heavy table was on the ground floor.

Solution: Firetrucks have cranes built right in.

It took a number of ropes, straps and pads, but once the table was secured to one of the DeLand Fire Department’s fire engine cranes, it didn’t take long to lift the piece of furniture to the second floor.

Soon after, the firefighters were able to take a seat at their solid, new table in the comfort of their second-floor lounge.

“It’s always good to give back,” Paul Venturini said, voicing a sentiment everyone involved shared.

GOING UP — After securing the table with a number of straps, knots and pads, the firefighters hook their new table to the bucket of a firetruck and hoist it to the second floor of Fire Station 81, just outside of the dining room. The table was far too heavy to carry up the stairs of the station, so the firefighters did what firefighters do best — they solved the problem by innovating.


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