Anonymous donation leads to Jaws of Life purchase
The Niverville Fire & EMS Department is thanking the generosity of an anonymous business owner and the community at large which helped to raise necessary funds to replace aging extraction equipment.
In less than two months the department raised $20,000 through community donations and fundraisers which was matched with a $25,000 gift from a local.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how well things went,” said Fire Chief Keith Bueckert.
Bueckert was in a local business when the owner approached him with a pitch: any donation the department collects would be matched by the individual, up to $25,000.
The department was already kicking tires on buying a new piece of battery-operated extraction equipment to replace their current, 17-year-old tool used in emergencies. The donation challenge, however, allowed them to expand their options.
“When this individual came forward with this proposal that he was going to give us a donation…we decided to get the full set rather than just one tool,” he said.
The Holmatro Jaws of Life is used by the 35-member department for a variety of emergency situations, Bueckert explained, but is most used for vehicle extractions at accident scenes.
Last year, the department responded to 13 accident calls while the equipment was required twice.
Prior to the donation challenge the department hosted fundraisers to raise cash for the purchase and collected funds from fallen members whose families asked for donations to the department in lieu of flowers. The local’s donation challenge also extended to businesses to which Bueckert said the community responded.
Calling the business community in Niverville “very generous” Bueckert anticipated their goal would be met in short order.
“Everyone just came out and supported us really, really well with it,” he said.
As for the identity of the business owner who came to him with the offer, Bueckert is remaining tight-lipped.
“I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” he said with a chuckle.