"Our little community came together in a really big way," said Tom Carlson in praise of his friends and neighbors in Geronimo Estates, where a new fire station was dedicated April 10.
"There is much more to say about all of the wonderful collaborative efforts -- the unselfish, giving way that so many people came forward to make this a reality," Carlson said. "I think it's a rather special example of what a community can do if it really gets behind the effort to make it happen -- but I am admittedly very biased."
Geronimo Estates became part of the Whispering Pines Fire District in 2001. Then -- since the community was 6 miles from the main fire station, with a narrow, winding road between the two areas -- the residents proceeded with a two-year fund-raising effort to get $46,000 to build their fire station.
Land was donated by the Mark family of Geronimo Estates, and many hours of sweat equity were contributed by residents, firefighters and Chief Mark Essary, of WPFD.
Essary, who was in the building business for a number of years, drew the plans for the station and oversaw the concrete work.
He said he was amazed at how the project came together. The district had planned to build a station in Geronimo Estates in two or three years, but the people wanted it and made it happen, Essary said.
He said it was an impressive effort and he is proud of them and the fire department personnel who took part.
Essary said that while the station is unmanned, the equipment being there for the volunteers will make the all-around coverage better for fast attacks on fires and quick response to medical emergencies where minutes can make the difference.
The station houses a 2,000 gallon water tender/pumper, two brush trucks and a 3,000 gallon water tender provided by WPFD.
Volunteer efforts are continuing, with plans to install a 50,000 gallon horizontal water storage tank on the property.