Letter to the editor: Elroy Fire & Ambulance receives grants, donations

By RAYE WALZ  | Elroy Area Ambulance Service

The Elroy Area Fire & Ambulance Association, along with the Elroy Area Ambulance Service, extends thanks to all of the people who generously donated funds to replace our aging ambulances. Your donations totaled more than $24,000 and have enabled us to remount one of our ambulances resulting in our first truly reliable vehicle in a number of years.

In addition, the estate of Millie Freymiller made a generous donation to the ambulance service. This donation has enabled us to place an order for a new ambulance to replace our oldest ambulance, which is 17 years old and still in service. We are expecting the new ambulance sometime this summer. The estimated cost to build and have this vehicle delivered to us and ready for use is $190,000, and as with all major purchases, we will have to finance a portion of this cost.

The Elroy Area Volunteer Fire Department applied for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant in 2015 to replace equipment. Unfortunately, our request was not accepted. In 2016, the fire department contracted for a new fire truck. The cost of this vehicle was $332,000; through your generous donations and our fundraising efforts, we were able to pay a portion of the cost upfront and financed the remainder, and it was delivered in 2017.

We applied again for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant to replace aging and worn out turnout gear, which consists of jackets, pants, boots, gloves, Nomex protective headliners, helmets, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) face masks and tanks, along with a request for a washing machine and drying system with which to clean the turnout gear. We were excited when we were notified in August 2017 that our request for grant funding had been approved. We received a 95 percent FEMA-funded grant ($175,871) and contributed 5 percent from our resources ($8,793) for a total of $184,664 to be used for the purchase of turnout gear. However, we did not receive any funding for the fire truck. A generous donation from the Millie Freymiller estate has enabled us to purchase a new compressor.

As you can see, good things are happening for the Elroy Area Ambulance Service and the Elroy Area Volunteer Fire Department. Even though we have received several generous donations, we continue to seek donations to offset the expense of the new ambulance and fire truck. Donations can be sent to Elroy Area Fire & Ambulance Association, 1717 Omaha St., Elroy WI 53929.

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