Federated Rural Electric, Jackson, recently presented a donation totaling $7,500 to four local fire departments — Heron Lake, Jackson, Welcome and Granada.
Federated took advantage of matching funds from two organizations to triple the impact. “Federated donated $2,500, then secured matching funds from CoBank’s Sharing Success Program and Basin Electric Cooperative,” stated Federated’s General Manager Scott Reimer. “Cooperatives are concerned about their local communities; we saw this as a way to help each fire department with costly equipment needs. We started with two towns where we have buildings and will rotate this donation the following years until we’ve helped each fire department in our service area.”
CoBank is one entity that provides Federated long-term financing for line construction projects, while Basin Electric is one of Federated’s wholesale power providers.
The Jackson Fire Department ordered a 100-foot aerial ladder fire truck this year for $1.3 million dollars. “With larger grain elevators, grain bins and metal machine sheds we need to reach those fires,” stated Kirk Dunlavey, fire department training officer. “This will be our first ladder truck and it can be shared through mutual aid with neighboring departments. Due to supply chain issues, we probably won’t have it until 2023. However, we are doing major fundraising so this donation is greatly appreciated.”
The Welcome Fire Department Relief Association will purchase an extrication tool. “This donation helps not only Welcome and the surrounding areas, but also helps travelers going down Interstate 90 as well,” stated Chris Borchardt, Welcome’s fire chief. “Our department is furnishing a new rescue truck. This donation will buy a Genesis battery-operated push/pull ram; it can be used to extricate people in auto accidents by moving the whole dash off their lap or move a piece of farm equipment during an entanglement. Without donations from local companies our rural fire departments cannot survive.”
Meanwhile, the Heron Lake Fire Department will buy four sets of bunker gear. “We will order four sets of turnout gear, which includes pants/bibs, coats and suspenders,” said Chad Diemer, Heron Lake’s fire chief. “This donation will cover two of these sets. This equipment needs to be replaced every 10 years so we really appreciate this donation.”
Finally, the Granada Fire Department will buy four two-way radios. Granada Fire Chief J.D. Goraczkowski explains, “Firefighters wear these radios as they walk into a fire so they can communicate with each other. These new radios are spendy at $1,600 each and help outfit more of our department, plus they also tie into the county’s system to communicate with others during mutual aid.”
Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 6,800 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.