I am writing this letter to the members and residents of the Delaware Valley Fire District to let you know that we in Attica will forever be indebted to you and your fire district.
As I'm sure anyone who works with public safety knows, state and federal funding for safety has taken a serious hit in recent years. Our department, AVR Fire District, which serves the Village of Attica, the townships of Reed and Venice in Seneca County and portions of Richmond and Norwich Townships in Huron County with an all-volunteer crew, has also been hit hard by loss of funding. We have tried repeatedly to win grants, but have come up short each time to replace essential equipment.
Recently, during a bench test for our air packs, eight out of our 14 usable packs were taken out of service to either be repaired, or to be evaluated if they were even able to be repaired. Losing these packs was detrimental to our department, and we were lucky enough to be able to borrow a few from Sycamore Fire (another all-volunteer "neighbor"). My husband, Lonnie, is an assistant chief and I know first-hand the worry he personally had over the safety of not only the guys and gals on our department, but also those we serve in an emergency. I also know the worry of having someone you love very much, and friends you care for greatly, in harm's way and hoping the equipment they have brings them back home safely to you. A new replacement set, just one set, costs $5,500. We were looking at needing to replace 8 at that cost. The option of looking into refurbished packs was discussed, but the cost was still out of our reach.
I believe in miracles and your fire district was our miracle. Someone who knew of our troubles, and wishes to remain anonymous, contacted Rob Rennard, your fire chief. Rob and your district were one of the lucky ones who received a grant we have tried to obtain and has put your grant to good use for you. Rob contacted my husband and asked that Lonnie be on-station last Saturday, as he was bringing a few (four) packs and some bottles for us. The Rennard family drove almost three hours to Attica. His "few" left Lonnie speechless (which DOES NOT normally happen!) and overwhelmed. Rob brought with him, not only his family, but six packs, eight aluminum bottles, 15 composite bottles, and nine face masks. Rob would only allow us to fill his gas tank and his family's hunger for the return trip to your area. This equipment is all usable, but for one pack that needs some attention, and has brought peace of mind to many. We have already put the usable packs in-service, and as I write this letter, the bottles have just come back from inspection and are being filled with air at our station.
When Lonnie told me of our good fortune, I cried then I cried again as I looked upon our gift in astonishment and I have tears in my eyes as I write this THANK YOU.
I want to thank you, for your huge, wonderful, generous gift to our department, families, and folks we serve. I do not know how to put into words what this means not only to the guys and gals on the department, but also to those of us that sit and wait for their safe return home, there are just no words to cover the feelings. You answered our prayers, I truly hope that someday we will be in the same position to pay the miracle forward.
May God Bless each and every one of you He and you, have definitely blessed us!
Sincerely and with heartfelt thanks,