Chapter seeks donations to fix emergency vehicle

The Southwest Colorado Red Cross recently was given a retired ambulance by the Los Pinos Fire Protection District in Ignacio. This gift will help us serve disaster clients as well as emergency responders.

I am coming to you today with a request. Even though the retired ambulance (we are calling it the SWERV – the Southwest Emergency Response Vehicle) was free, it needs a few repairs. The La Plata Electric Association Roundup Foundation graciously gave us a grant that will pay for some of the repairs. However, we still need an additional $1,500 to make the vehicle roadworthy and ready to roll.

I am asking for directed donations to our “SWERV Fund” that will make sure we are ready for the upcoming wildfire season.

This vehicle will allow us to transport food and water to firefighters and other emergency-response personnel on the scene of any emergency.

Earlier this month, we fed more than 75 firefighters food and beverages at the scene of a wildland fire south of Durango. We currently have to transport food and water in personal vehicles or in the chapter vehicle and often have to make multiple trips to get everything to the scene.

Our responders depend on us to make sure they stay well hydrated and fed during the long hours they sometimes spend at house fires or wildfires. Your directed donation will go directly toward making sure we are able to continue this vital service.

In addition to serving food and water to responders, we plan to use this vehicle as a quiet place our clients can go after they have been affected by a house fire. The Red Cross responds directly to the scene of these emergencies and starts providing immediate assistance to displaced people.

Currently, we complete paperwork for clients on the hood of a vehicle or standing in a driveway. The SWERV would allow us to bring clients inside, give them with something to drink and provide them with the financial and emotional support they need after a devastating event.

We are the insurance policy for our community. The Red Cross always is there to help during a disaster – not only residents but also all members of the emergency-response teams. Your donation will go directly to providing immediate comfort to everyone affected by a house fire, wildfire or other disaster; $1,500 is not a lot of money to some, but it certainly will make a difference to those affected by disaster.

American Red Cross volunteers appreciate the support and commitment to the local chapter and its efforts to provide disaster assistance in Southwest Colorado.

Cindi Shank is executive director of the Southwest Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross.

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