Volunteer firefighters must be ready for anything: car accidents, structure fires, missing persons, gas leaks. They may need to cut a tree out of a road or triage a six-vehicle accident on U.S Route 50. When someone has an emergency in a small town, in many instances, the Volunteer Fire Department is expected to take care of it. “What is routine to us is life-altering to someone else,” said Craig Mullens, President of the Harrisville Volunteer Fire Department and a second-generation firefighter. “We are expected to do our best on someone’s worst day.”
Up-to-date equipment is critical for a fire department. The Department has received many grants from the PACF and its Ritchie County Community Foundation affiliate. Over the years, these grant awards have enabled the Department to purchase a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) and trailer, communication gear, a spare Jaws of Life® device (60% of calls are related to vehicle accidents), and turnout gear (protective pants, coats, helmets, and gloves).
Over the past five years, the PACF and its regional affiliates has awarded nearly $105,000 to local emergency service groups helping to purchase protective apparel, communication devices, and life-saving equipment. The majority of these grants were made possible by the Foundation’s Unrestricted Funds, Field of Interest Funds, and Donor Advised Funds.
Mullen has high praise for the Foundation. “It’s a great organization and it’s made possible by wonderful people. They provide for the community,” Mullens said. “Where there’s a need for a nonprofit, they seem to be able to help out.”