It's not often that a fire department can purchase an emergency response vehicle without spending a single taxpayer dollar.
But thanks to money raised by volunteers and private donations, the Whispering Pines Fire District now has a new command vehicle.
"Our district needed a heavy duty four-wheel drive truck, but as a volunteer department, we have limited funds," Mark Essary, Whispering Pines fire chief, said. "Volunteers raised $10,000 through wildland contracts with the state land department and private donations."
Wildland contracts are agreements with the state in which volunteers from Whispering Pines Fire District worked to assist the Forest Service with fires on national forest lands.
But Essary was still faced with the challenge of making the most of their money. The purchase of a used Chevrolet 3/4-ton truck was just the first step. The vehicle still needed paint, emergency lights, and decals.
"We were able to get the truck painted by Impact Auto Body in Mesa. They donated a complete paint job worth $5,000," Essary said. "Mesa Police Department donated the emergency lights. The total project came in at $9,800."
Essary said the command vehicle is a valuable tool in the district's mission of service and safety.
"It will be useful in rescue operations involving heavy snow, rough terrain, and river crossings. It will also be valuable for incident command situations like structure or wildland fires," Essary said. "This command vehicle was a culmination of a successful project between volunteers and department staff. We're thrilled to have this truck in operation. It means being able to provide better service for our citizens and the mutual aid partners we serve. It really will make a difference."