Gooderham’s volunteer fire department has passed the halfway mark on fundraising for a new off-road vehicle, thanks to a $2,000 donation.
The Gooderham Community Action Group presented the cheque to Highlands East Station 3 on Monday.
“Everyone was very grateful for it,” says District Fire Chief Horner. “We’ve been trying to raise money to get a new side-by-side, for when we have to do rescues out in the woods. We do have a four-wheeler now, which works, but you just can’t bring in as many people as needed into the bush at once.”
According to Horner, the current ATV is still a few years away from replacement by the municipality. In the meantime, he says the department needs a larger vehicle for both ease of rescue and the safety of the patient.
“[It’s] just an all-terrain utility vehicle, so we’re looking at one that would seat at least four plus a patient on the back,” says Horner. “So that way you could take a couple of firefighters, a paramedic in, bring anyone out of the bush that needed rescuing.”
He notes that the vehicle is about one and a half times more costly than it was when they started fundraising, and they’re still about $15,000 away from the new vehicle.
“At that time in 2019, it was about $21,000 to get a new side-by-side,” says Horner. “But now with inflation and everything, we’re looking at about $30,000.”
The department is running a bottle drive, and has several fundraisers planned for the new year. You can call Horner at 705-854-2556 to make a donation, or stop by the fire hall at 1043 Community Centre Rd. to drop off bottles.