Captain Thomas O’Saile, of the volunteer West Macon Rescue Squad, provided an update for county commissioners on receiving rescue cutters, “They will be a great asset. They’re the only cutters in the county with enough pressure to cut boron steel.”
He reported receiving a call from a Nestle Waters representative and being offered a $5,000 matching grant. O’Saile told commissioners that the volunteer squad had raised $1800, that can go toward the match, and asked if they (county) would be willing to put up the remainder. If the county will invest $3200 they will have $10,000 of equipment for our squad.
“Are they going to give that to every outfit out here?” asked Commissioner Jerry Ray. The captain told them Nestle had read about the squad in the Chronicle, and as far as he knew, it was only offered to their squad. Ray, who is a volunteer with the Willette Fire department remarked, “I tell you what, if they are going to give to yall, I’m gonna ask for it. We’ve got some outdated equipment at Willette. And when we ask for it, Red Boiling’s gonna ask for it, then Lafayette’s gonna ask for it…“I think I’m gonna try to get some of it too.”
Captain O’Saile replied, “That’s fine and well Jerry, the only thing I know is they’ve offered it to our squad, and I don’t see where the county could go wrong on $3200 for $10,000 of equipment.”
Commissioner David Crowder then asked about more fundraisers and the time frame that Nestle would still offer the funding.
O’Saile told them even if they elected to not allow the $3200, that he was going to continue to try to come up with the money saying, “I want to look out for the whole county, but I’m responsible for West Macon.”
“Budget time is right now upon us,” said Commissioner Tony Boles. “If the other squads were to be able to get the matching grants we would put that in the 2010/11 budget.” Then he, too, voiced concerns with current revenue collections. “If Nestle would, could wait on that, until we get our budget set, it would be great. If they could go ahead, and have another fundraiser, and raise money themselves, then that’s great too. We might ought to wait ‘til budget time cause you’re talking about four more squads, that’s $3200 to each one.”
Captain O’Saile announced that West Macon’s next fundraiser would be May 15th, with a cookout and cakewalk.
Captain O’Saile explained that the $10,000 they were seeking could go for two pieces of equipment, to replace an 80’s model spreader, and for a set of rescue jacks, for lifting and stabilizing vehicles.
He explained that the likelihood of raising the money for a major purchase was unlikely, and that the squad had other smaller needs. To which Commissioner Jerry Ray replied, “Do like we done, it hadn’t been too long along, we borrowed $2,000…”
O’Saile offered that they (West Macon members) didn’t have the funds to pay something like that back.
“We all, (Willette) at one time, borrowed $7900 and we paid it back,” said Ray.
Commissioner Annette Looper made a motion to give the money, and then suggested Jerry check on some for Willette and others could as needed.
Captain O’Saile reiterated that the grant he was contacted about, was for the West Macon Rescue Squad.
A motion passed to get more information on the offered grant or grants and the time frame, and will be up for consideration at the legislative body meeting.
We spoke with EMA Director Keith Scruggs days after the commissioners meeting. Scruggs commented, “I’m proud Nestle offered them the money. I appreciate any offer from any individual or company to emergency services, allowing them to receive funding.”
Don Stevens also extended his thanks for the generous offer, both remarking that it’s a great opportunity for the county.
County Commissioners will meet in Legislative Body Session on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the county courthouse.