MEIGS COUNTY — The Columbia Township Volunteer Fire Department was selected to receive $500 by Facebook voters during a “like and share” contest as the kick-off to the Loyalty is Forever Firehouse 12 campaign.
The department recently received their prize money, as Loyalty is Forever begins the second phase of the campaign with calendars. Calendars featuring photos from each of the 12 departments are now available at the three Farmers Bank locations in Meigs County, as well as through the local fire departments.
“On the last day of the campaign the contest was neck and neck the entire day between Chester Volunteer Fire Department and Columbia Township Volunteer Fire Department,” said Tina Richards of Loyalty is Forever. “It was fun to watch the numbers increase for both departments over the course of the day. In the end, Columbia Township and their photograph of Santa won the votes.”
In a post on the department’s Facebook page earlier this week the Columbia Twp. Volunteer Fire Department announced their plans for the $500 prize, as well as big news on a recent grant award.
“We are incredibly proud to announce that our FD has been approved for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant funded by FEMA. There were over 8,400 applicants this year. About 10% of those were awarded grants. We were lucky to be awarded a grant for $45,000,” read the statement.
“This grant is incredibly competitive. In fact, we’ve only been awarded one in the past, but we apply each year with high hopes. We want to give a big thank you to our Secretary, EMT, and resident grant writer Cheri McCollum. Each year Cheri compiles all of the necessary info, researches, and designs a narrative to convince the powers that be to choose our FD. With just these FEMA grants Cheri has been able to bring over $100,000 to our Township,” added the statement from the department.
The grant will be used to purchase seven new SCBA breathing packs to replace those that are more than 10 years old. The updated equipment will be the same type as the other departments in the county use according to the department, which will be an advantage on larger fires. The department already had two of the new packs from a different grant, meaning there will be nine new, matching devices for the fire fighters to use.
The grant requires a five percent match, which is $2,250 for which the department would be responsible.
The $500 prize from Loyalty is Forever will be put toward the department’s match, leaving only $1,750 to be paid from township funds.
“We are incredibly grateful for the chance to replace outdated equipment with the newest, most effective, and safest SCBA available for such a fraction of the price to our community,” concluded the statement.
The Firehouse 12 campaign will continue throughout the remainder of the year with the calendar purchases going to benefit each of the 12 departments. The calendars are $12, which is $1 for each department. The goal is to raise $12,000 by the end of 2019 in order to give $1,000 to each of the departments. The production costs for the calendars was covered by Farmers Bank, with the photos taken by Bartee Photography, allowing for the entire purchase price of each calendar to go directly to the departments.
”It is fun to work with the departments and to see them working together to make this happen for everyone,” concluded Richards.
For more information on the Firehouse 12 campaign visit Loyalty is Forever on Facebook.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.