Caring, non-resident gives Butte Falls fire major donation

Sometimes little things lead to something really big. Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department knows that first hand.

A while back, the Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department received a letter from Frank Ault wanting to exchange fire department patches. Butte Falls responded and sent their patch and invited Ault to their department on any drill night.

On July 7, Ault arrived at the station in Butte Falls. He was given a tour, looked  at their trucks and equipment and began asking about the department’s needs. It didn’t take long for Butte Falls to answer that question–they need to finish their tender. Some outlying areas don’t have a water source. The department is forced to shuttle water with their engines or with mutual aid from Fire District 4 in Shady Cove and/or  Fire District 3.

The tour was over and Mr. Ault left.

On Monday, Aug. 4, Mr. Ault returned. This time it was with a $10,000 grant from the Frank H. Ault Non-Endowment Fund at the San Diego Foundation.  “This grant, accepted with handshakes, hugs, tears and pride, is for the purpose of completing the fabrication of our 2,000 gallon water tender, including Code 3 equipment and a fire radio,” said a press release from Chief Jeff Gorman. “We hope it will be complete by the end of fire season. It will be wildland compatible and help on structure fires,” said Gorman.

Along with the grant, the Butte Falls Fire Department is getting $10,000 in labor and material donated by On-Site Screeners of Butte Falls, to finish the truck. “This local company has been helping us with out tender and is one of our community supporters that we appreciate so much and can rely on when the going gets tough,” said Gorman.

Support for the small department comes from many. The First Family of the Butte Falls Volunteer Fire Department lost a family member a few months ago–Jerry “Chub” Capello. Donations to the department in memory of Chub, totaled $710. Chub’s father, “Red” Capello, was the first fire chief in Butte Falls, his mother Ruth, took over after his fathers death in a logging accident and then his brother, John took over when Ruth retired. Ruth was the first female fire chief in Oregon and one of the first, perhaps the first, female chief in the United States.  This was about 1977. The significance of this family continues. “We want to thank them for never giving up on the little department that could,” said Gorman.

“We are extremely excited about this grant and the donations. This will give us a little more independence and we will be better able to serve our community and surrounding area. Thank you everyone,”said Gorman.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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