Local ranchers pitched in last month to ensure that the Madisonville Volunteer Fire Department has the proper equipment to respond to grass fires.
Ranchers Kenneth Farris and Dave Ward set the fundraising in motion, and donations rolled in from numerous local businesses for the $28,000 utility terrain vehicle.
In addition to the two ranchers, the following contributors were recognized at an appreciation ceremony Monday night:
•John Hardy Inc.
•Henson Family Dealerships/NAPA Auto Parts
•Roger Knight Jr.
•Vick Ranch and Family
•Standley Feed and Seed Inc.
Fire Chief Thom Jones said the trailer and skid unit was paid for by the city and other donations. Volunteer firefighters took the vehicle on a test run Sunday afternoon.
“It allows us to go through the woods and through wet grass,” Jones said. “It has a basket so we could bring in a rancher from the woods if we needed to.”
The vehicle can carry 100 gallons of water and 10 gallons of firefighting foam. It is equipped with sirens and lights.
The UTV joins the station’s fleet of three pumper trucks, one tanker, one rescue engine, three small grass trucks, a cascade trailer, a command trailer and a boat.
“We’re getting to where we need to be,” Jones said. “It meant a lot to us that the community helped us out.”
Stephen Culp, the station’s EMS captain, pointed out that the community also has contributed funding for equipment, such as automatic defibrillators, trauma kits, oxygen and pulse oximeters. Donations came primarily from the Stitching Hens quilting group and Elwood Baptist Church.