CHAPMANVILLE - Thanks to the Gary Sinise Foundation, the Chapmanville Volunteer Fire Department now has brand new rescue tools.
The foundation awarded the department more than $32,000 for new "jaws of life" rescue tools, which includes three new sets of tools, six batteries and a three-bay charging station. 2019 marks the third year the foundation has awarded the CVFD funding for equipment and other upgrades.
"Now all of our engines will be equipped with rescue tools," said CVFD Lt. Bobby Boehm. "Instead of just having one truck designated for rescue, we'll have three engines plus a rescue truck. You're providing more rescue equipment, so instead of having to call for another department if you're on the scene of an accident, if you've got another accident down the road, you can take an engine and go to it, and it's got the same capabilities a rescue truck does."
On Sunday, the department began implementing the tools into the rescue apparatus. Boehm said he hopes to keep the tools in service for at least seven years. The CVFD responds to quite a few accidents along U.S. 119 and averages about 540 calls a year in its 95-square-mile coverage area.
Boehm said he hopes the department continues receiving help from the Gary Sinise Foundation.
"The Gary Sinise Foundation, honestly, has been a blessing to our department, and they're located across the country," Boehm said. "Right now, living in an economically depressed area just from the coal industry, we are beyond blessed to have the foundation give us the money, especially three years in a row, when there's departments out there that can't get the money and has applied for money through FEMA. You're looking for a FEMA grant to be almost a year before you get the money versus the Gary Sinise Foundation at three to five months. Really, it's been a huge benefit to our community.
"I can't appreciate them enough," Boehm added, "and I know our department can't appreciate them enough for everything that they have done for us especially to an organization that they've never met in person that they've only seen on paper, 5,000 miles away."
Boehm urged people to support their local volunteer fire departments and the Gary Sinise Foundation with donations if they can.
"They are a nonprofit organization that helps nonprofits," he said.
For more information, visit www.GarySiniseFoundation.org.