The story behind the new fire truck at the Garland Volunteer Fire Department in Butler County is a story about paying it forward, and this tale begins a long way from south Alabama.
"The Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Department is out of New Jersey," said Garland VFD Treasurer April Richey.
The Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Department in New Jersey received a new fire truck through the Terry Farrell Foundation. Ship Bottom 'retired' Engine One and simply gave to Garland VFD, a department that's been without a fire truck since early March of this year. McKenzie has been covering Garland's territory.
"The Farrell Foundation is an amazing program and it's done a lot of good for first responders," said Richey.
Terry Farrell by the way was a New York City firefighter who lost his life on 9-11, all the more reason the good, solid used pumper given to Garland is worth far more than the 20,000 pounds it weighs.
"Rural Alabama needs firefighters. We don't just answer house fire calls but we also answer medical calls including accidents on Interstate 65," said Richey.
George Darby and Richey's husband took turns driving down the pumper from New Jersey. They left Wednesday morning at 6:30 and didn't arrive until 4:30 Thursday morning. As you can imagine it was a very long drive, a drive that required $700.00 worth of fuel but Darby says it was worth every mile to help serve the 1,000 residents who live in the Garland area.
"Without a good truck like this we won't be able to be much help for them in time of need," said Darby.
Garland's new fire truck replaces an old 1984 model. Firefighters say the old still runs but no longer pumps water.
Even with the new pumper April Richey says they're still not back in business. The department has another donated truck on the way coming from Mobile. Richey says once the second fire truck arrives the Garland VFD should be up and running by May 24th.
"It will be just like our ladder truck," said Richey.
From one volunteer fire department to another several states away, a gift made possible by a New York City firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice 13 years ago.
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