Firemen’s Fair raises bar on fundraising

Bypass Fiesta Grill with U.S., Mexican lunch options
April 3, 2012
Entertainer keeping King of Rock ‘n’ Roll alive
April 3, 2012
Bypass Fiesta Grill with U.S., Mexican lunch options
April 3, 2012
Entertainer keeping King of Rock ‘n’ Roll alive
April 3, 2012

Thibodaux native Mike Naquin has shown great dedication and given outstanding service to the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department. After serving 15 years as fire chief, Naquin stepped down in 2011 but continues to serve as the appointed treasurer of the department.

“I decided when I got in it I was going to make the best of it,” Naquin says.

When he joined the department under its second company, similar to a branch, in 1971, Naquin was 18 and fresh out of high school, enrolled at Nicholls State University as a student of accounting. For Naquin, firefighting was never out of the question, as his father, uncles and two brothers served time as volunteers. It was something he always looked forward to and took very seriously. He would often go after or between classes to his company and devote whatever spare time he had to training and studying the profession.

Though his title of chief with the fire department is no longer, he still remains a chief in his day job, serving as the chief financial officer at Nicholls. When he finishes a day of numbers at Nicholls, he continues the numbers with the fire department having five years of the treasurer position already under his belt.

“It’s another way to be able to provide a service to the community,” Naquin says.

As a Certified Public Accountant, Naquin enjoys donating his time to help the department with its finances.

“Everybody has a regular job that provides support so just about everything gets done after hours, but nobody knows when a fire is going to occur,” Naquin says.

About 250 active firemen have pagers, which receive signals transferred from 911 through the Thibodaux Police Department.

During his 15 years as fire chief, he has accomplished many things that offer boasting privileges. In 1980 he was the first Thibodaux firefighter given the Firefighter II Certification from the LSU Fire and Emergency Training Institute, which requires a practical skills exam as well as a written test.

Under his tenure as fire chief, the fire department became the first all-volunteer fire department in the state to earn a class two ranking by the Property Insurers Association of Louisiana.

As the treasurer and previous fire chief, Naquin understands how important the Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair is to the department. Last year, Naquin said the fair helped raise over $600,000 in net profit for the department.

“Not too long ago we were trying to reach $300,000 and didn’t think $500,000 was possible and now we’ve reached $600,000,” said Naquin. “Who knows where it will end up going.”

The fair dates back to World War II and it’s the department’s only fundraiser. Located at the Fireman’s Fairground on Tiger Street, it offers all sorts of entertainment and food.

More than one dozen bands and singers are scheduled to perform, and each company will have booths set up to prepare and serve food like jambalaya and hamburgers. Carnival rides are popular among children and some adults alike and this year features the first 5K run and walk on May 5. An application for the race and more information is available online at

The event also features a $10,000 raffle and auction as well as a Sunday parade, Louisiana’s oldest. The fair lasts from May 3 until May 6. Hours of operation are also available on the website previously listed.

– Esther Ellis is a freelance writer.

The annual Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair runs May 3 through May 6. Former Thibodaux Fire Chief Mike Naquin says the department’s only fundraiser is important to its stability.