A volunteer Fire Department in Butler County had to stop taking emergency calls in March. Firefighters lacked equipment and no longer had working fire trucks, but now, with the help of fellow fighters hundreds of miles away, that is all changing.
Firefighters with the Garland Volunteer Fire Department now have a new fire truck. It is all thanks to a donation from another volunteer fire department in New Jersey.
Over the past few years, the volunteer fire department treasurer, April Richey, says the department had taken a turn for the worst, "We did not have an operable fire truck, we did not have turn out gear, our fire department is in need of repairs, we've just been really devastated the last couple of years."
The department even had to stop taking emergency calls. But, with the help of the Terry Ferrell Fire Fighter fund in New York, a fire truck was donated from Shipbottom Volunteer Fire Department in New Jersey.
After the community raised over $3,000 for the trip, two firefighters flew to get the truck and drove the 1,200 miles back. Bringing with them new life and safety for Garland, "Oh man I love it! I'm in love with this truck. I've been watching the whole trip coming down, I've been calling them, I called April and talked to her about it, and I couldn't wait for it to get down here. I'm like a little kid in a candy store," says fire chief, Clint Godwin.
Now, fire fighters say home owner's insurance costs will go down for the community and fire response times will be shorter, but the lasting difference is how the department is bringing the community together, "We've all worked together to raise this money. One person can't do it alone. I wouldn't call us a community, I'd say we're family," says Richey.
The firefighters also say they are getting a second truck in a few weeks from Mobile Fire and Rescue, along with four pallets of gear from the Terry Ferrell Fire Fighter Fund.
The Garland Volunteer Fire Department will begin taking emergency calls again on May 25th.