“Every once-in-a-while I just start giggling,” said Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Gorman, as he talked about the opportunity Butte Falls has to win a new fire truck.
A new fire truck is something this small community of 450 has never had since 1964. In fact, to have new equipment of any kind is incredibly rare.
But a few months ago the fire department’s very dedicated volunteer grant writer, Janice Shultz, came across a contest sponsored by E-ONE, a major supplier of fire equipment. Each year E-ONE conducts a contest asking for a letter of 500 words or less explaining why a department needs equipment. Shultz certainly knew how to answer that question. Her entry for Butte Falls was one of some 650 entries.
On Mar. 30, Butte Falls was notified they are one of seven selected as finalists. On-line voting is now underway and continues until 10 a.m. PDT, Apr. 24. Obviously, Butte Falls is seeking as many entries as possible. Only one vote per email address. Go to E-ONE.com and follow the directions. The entry will ask your name, your fire department (provide the name and/or number of the department that serves you), a timeline box to mark (and you could answer not sure) and then it will ask what you plan on purchasing (and you might indicate a truck or such.) It sends an email back to you and you will then need to confirm your vote.
E-ONE is paying the way, which includes airline ticket, room and board, for a representative from each of the seven finalists to be present when the decision is announced at 12 noon PDT, Apr. 24.
Schultz’s letter provided highlights of the history of the all volunteer department. It was started in 1964 with the donation of a brand new fire engine. There were no turnouts or protective clothing and no training. When the alarm blared, people came running with shovels and chain saws ready to save their neighbor’s home, explained Schultz. In 1998 they had saved two year’s worth of budget money and with donations they purchased a 1977 American La France for $1,000 from a neighboring fire department.
In 2000 the 17-20 volunteers got very serious about their firefighting and safety. They wanted to learn more about structure firefighting as well as wildland firefighting. People living on outskirts of town were more than happy to pay something to gain more protection. This volunteer group has trained in wildland firefighting, hazmat training, burn to learn, jaws of life, water rescue, and once a week turn out for drills. And all of this is on a volunteer basis because they care about their community and the surrounding area.
But despite the additional training they still respond with a 1964 Ford and a 1977 La France, as well as personal vehicles.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have the backing of the surround fire departments,” said Gorman. He praised Prospect Rural, Lake Creek Volunteer, Fire District 3 and District 4. “I can never say enough about Fire District 4. When our tone goes off, they are putting their boots on,” said Gorman.
Gorman is hoping people near and far will vote for Butte Falls.
“These firefighters have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps to become the ones that everybody turns to when there is an emergency,” said Schultz. “They deserve as well as need a new fire engine.”
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent