Lincolnville Fire Station was filled to capacity, twice over, March 23 during a fundraiser for Justin Hills, a Lincolnville firefighter and Camden First Aid Association paramedic diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this year.

While organizers declined to state the actual amount of money raised, a rough tally of the live auction alone came to more than $10,000.

Following a monthly meeting of Lincolnville Fire Department Jan. 8, Lincolnville Fire Chief Jason Peasley said he and his crew were discussing how to assist Hills and came up with the idea of the chicken barbecue.

"The idea was 'how can we help [Hills] out?'" Peasley previously said, adding in addition to medical expenses Hills has missed days of work and incurred the costs of traveling for treatment as well.

Hills said March 23 — as auctioneer Rosey Gerry cajoled the audience into higher bids in the background — he had returned to work full-time this week. Pausing to speak with well wishers often, he expressed surprise at the large turnout.

"I had no idea I even knew this many people," Hills said, looking around the fire station bay filled with an enthusiastic crowd. "Or maybe they just really like Lincolnville [Fire Department] chicken!"

Prior to the live auction, silent auction items were displayed around the fire station bay floor and attendees making a $10 donation were treated to a half-chicken dinner served with a plethora of tasty traditional sides and — according to the poster for the event — "famous Neal Peabody sauce."

At the start of the live auction, Hills was seated on an elevated platform where Gerry auctioned off more than 60 donated items ranging from from gasoline and tire gift cards, various gift certificates and a special prize from River Ducks Ice Cream.

Throughout the nearly four-hour event, T-shirts designed by Adventure Advertising commemorating the barbecue and auction were on sale.

Proceeds from all aspects of the benefit will go directly to benefit Hills, Peasley previously said.

Courier Publications Associate Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at sgrinnell@courierpublicationsllc.com.