When the MacGregor Fire Hall needed to raise funds for a new four-wheel drive utility vehicle, Dustin Hildebrandt, Deputy Fire Chief and an electrician for Richardson Milling Portage la Prairie, knew to contact the Richardson Foundation. Through the Foundation, Richardson Pioneer Dundonald and Richardson Milling Portage la Prairie donated $10,000 to the project.
The new utility vehicle enables firefighters to reach remote areas that normal fire trucks may not be able to access. The vehicle can also pull the Equinox Rescue Boggan, which the fire hall also recently acquired, to carry patients to safety from off-road terrain. The volunteer firefighters are also looking to purchase accessories for the vehicle, such as emergency lighting equipment, a water pump and a tank.
Dustin has been volunteering at the fire hall for about 17 years, where he began as a junior member when he was in Grade 10. The hours can be random due to the nature of the work. One month he could go without a single call, while sometimes he can receive three calls a day. On average, he says the fire department receives 70 to 80 calls annually.
“I consider volunteering just like being a member of your local Lions or Kinsmen Club or a member of a minor hockey league board. It is really just a bunch of people coming together to do something for the community, and you get to become excellent friends with the people you do it with,” says Dustin.
The project to raise $30,000 began two years ago after the hall purchased the rescue boggan. Until now, firefighters at the hall had been relying on volunteers and others in the community to borrow vehicles to pull the rescue boggan, so they decided to begin the fundraising project to purchase their own.
“The MacGregor Fire Department is committed to providing safe and efficient emergency services. We are a not-for-profit organization and, as such, rely on the support and donations of our community and local businesses,” says Dustin.
The fire hall serves just under 1,000 people in MacGregor and another 3,000 to 5,000 people in the RM. They often work together with the fire hall in Austin, MB to provide help with rescue services, car accidents, grass and structural fires and other emergencies.