PVFD spreads the wealth

Published 9:02 am Thursday, June 4, 2009

POWELLSVILLE – The good fortune of one Bertie County volunteer fire department is now shared with another.

On Monday, members of the Powellsville Volunteer Fire Department handed over the keys and the title of a 1988 vehicle to their “blaze-busting” brethren at the Perrytown Volunteer Fire Department.

The truck was a pumper-tanker donated to Powellsville by the Oak Grove Fire Department.

Powellsville’s firemen recently took possession of a 2009 pumper they won in a national contest sponsored by E-One, a Florida-based company that designs and manufactures emergency response vehicles.

“Once the word got out that we needed to upgrade our aging fire trucks, we received several offers from all over the place in regards to other, larger fire departments wanting to donate their used vehicles to us,” Powellsville Fire Chief David Powell said.

Powell said one such offer came from Oak Grove, a community located near Kings Mountain in western North Carolina.

“They contacted us when we became one of the seven finalists in the E-One contest,” Powell said. “They told us if we wanted the truck, just come and get it.”

And so they did.

“We didn’t have a clue at that time that we would wind-up winning the (national) contest,” Powell admitted. “We needed to upgrade our vehicles and here was an opportunity to do so. It was a no-brainer on our part…just drive to Oak Grove and take possession of a vehicle we so desperately needed.”

Then, a few short weeks later, the Powellsville firemen learned they had emerged victorious in the nationwide contest and that a brand new fire truck would soon arrive in Bertie County (it did on May 23).

“Since that time we’ve been kicking around ideas of what to do with the Oak Grove truck,” Powell said. “They told us when we picked it up that if we found ourselves in a position where the truck wasn’t needed, just give it to someone who did.”

As it turned out, Perrytown needed to upgrade their small fleet of vehicles.

“We just kept remembering the words of (E-One CEO) Peter Guile when he presented us the new truck,” Powell recalled. “He spoke of the plight of small, rural fire departments all over this country. He urged us to do what we could to reach out and help those in need.”

On Monday, the Powellsville volunteers loaded the 1988 pumper-tanker with fire hose, also donated by other departments, and drove the truck to Perrytown.

“About a dozen or so of us went,” Powell said. “We drove up and I told the Perrytown guys that thanks to the E-One promotion, we had been blessed with a new truck. We now had another truck donated to us that we decided Perrytown could use. We felt this was the right thing to do.”

Perrytown Fire Chief Bud Lee and members of that volunteer group were very appreciative of Powellsville’s donation.

“It was so gratifying what the Powellsville firemen did for our department,” Lee said. “We had a big need in the way of another vehicle and what they did helps us tremendously. I know the people of our fire district appreciate this as well.”

Lee spoke of the expense it takes to operate a fire department.

“It’s hard to come up with the money to purchase a big ticket item like a fire truck,” he noted. “What Powellsville did for us will enable us to become a more complete fire department with better equipment.”

Before Monday, Perrytown operated with only two trucks – a 1974 pumper-tanker with a 350 gallon capacity and a 1983 pumper-tanker (1,000 gallons).

Lee said the newly added ’88 truck will prove as a more dependable piece of fire-fighting equipment, mostly due to it being a diesel.

“Diesels run so much better, much cooler than a gas engine,” he said.

Lee added that the donation from Powellsville will become their “first-out” truck.

Meanwhile, the Perrytown firemen are counting down the remaining few days before they move into their new fire station. Lee said that may occur as early as next week.