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The Chillicothe Voice

A New Home for Engine 1

Oct 29, 2022 05:09PM ● By Chief Marvin Roderick
When I first heard of the great need for ambulances in Ukraine, I wondered about the need for fire apparatus. I informally asked our department trustees if they would be interested in me looking into donating our Engine 1 to Ukraine, and it was approved to check into what it would take.
In mid August, a local Fire Chief contacted me and asked if I knew of any departments that had a fire engine that they were getting rid of. I said we might be interested, and Chris Manson, Vice President of Government Relations OSF Healthcare, contacted me.
Chris told me about his mission and about his success with getting ambulances donated to Ukraine and how the last time he was in Ukraine, the government specifically asked him about fire engines. I took Chris to see Engine 1, and he was very excited. He said this would be perfect.
Engine 1 is a 1996 reserve engine stationed at Chillicothe Station 4. It is a Ferrara/Spartan with a 1,000-gallon tank and a 1,250 pump. The engine can carry six people in seat-belted seats. Engine 1 was originally the first out engine from station 1.
The Engine 1 topic was put on the September agenda for the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District Trustees meeting. Chris was scheduled to present his mission to get an ambulance to Ukraine and the current need for fire engines.
Chris spoke about how this all got started. His seven-year-old daughter asked, “how can we help the people in Ukraine.” With Chris’s healthcare background and previous experience as a Firefighter, this was one obvious way to help.
On September 20th, the Trustees voted unanimously to donate the engine to the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America. Everyone in attendance at that meeting echoed the support that the Trustees showed for this project. Less than a week later, all of our Chillicothe firefighters were at the station loading Engine 1 with anything we thought the Ukrainian firefighters could use.
Although the engine was full, we had to find more room. The Dunlap Community Fire Protection District donated two automatic defibrillators. The Brock family asked if they could donate sleeping bags, blankets, hats, and gloves.
The community involvement has been tremendous; on October 7th, Engine 1 was in the IVC homecoming parade, and we had numerous people signing the engine after the parade. People signed their names and left positive messages on the doors with markers. Some of the messages were written in Ukrainian, which will be a nice touch for the people using it.
On October 10th, we had the official send-off with our fire department chaplain blessing Engine 1 for its next mission in Ukraine. Just when I thought everyone that was going to sign it had already signed it, we had another great turnout. We had many more community members, other fire departments, and our department retirees. Many retirees had their hand in purchasing, designing, or being assigned to that engine. It was a bittersweet good bye. It was good to know it was on the way to help save innocent lives in Ukraine.
The following day, myself and two other members of the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District delivered this engine to a warehouse just outside of O’Hare Airport. This was when it became real. We saw all of the other needed items that were going to be transported to Ukraine; there were flak jackets, helmets, crutches, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and other medical supplies.  At this point, it was apparent our engine was going to a real war, with real casualties.
All of us at the Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District, our community, and our country wish Ukraine the best of luck, and we will be praying for them!