Bennet Fire & Rescue volunteers hold first-ever ambulance fundraiser Saturday evening
“The monitor we have right now is a loaner from the company we purchased our original monitor from,” Norris said. “The original is on back-order, and has been for almost a year now.”
The event was organized to help raise money for Bennet’s expenses related to their ambulance service, which the department will be starting this upcoming summer. It will be the first one ever in their history.
“We’ve never done this before, but we’ve never had to buy an ambulance before,” said Fire Chief Tim Norris.
Saturday evening’s event turned into a large gathering as the night progressed, with Norris telling 10/11 NOW he believes there were, at least, roughly 400 people that were there for the free-will donation dinner. Food and drinks were provided by the Big Ten Tavern, located just west of the fire station in Bennet.
The fundraiser also included a silent auction, in which there were over 30 items available for people to bid on.
“This is amazing,” he said, regarding to auction. “I’m just blown away.” There was also a raffle held for a riding lawn mower, a smoker grill, and a large cooler.
As of early Monday morning, the amount of money raised from the event was still being tallied. Norris says the funds will help offset what the department has had to do over the course of the last year to get the ambulance.
“We’ve had to use fire department sinking funds, which is primarily for the fire service,” Norris said. “There’s lots of expenses that we’re going to have; lots of equipment that we need to purchase.”
Norris adds that Bennet has put in for a grant with the state to help them with the financial aspect. The winner, or winners, of the grant will be determined over the course of the next month.
Currently, as far as the equipment goes, none of it has arrived for Bennet, as they’re still in the process of purchasing it, as well as raising more money to be able to buy it.
“The monitor we have right now is a loaner from the company we purchased our original monitor from,” Norris said. “The original is on backorder, and has been for almost a year now.”
Norris adds that he hopes the monitor will arrive before the ambulance does in either May or June.
“The other equipment will be purchased closer to the time when the ambulance arrives,” Norris said, which will allow for more time for the department to collect the funds needed for those equipment purchases.
In total, Norris says the total cost of the ambulance and all the equipment will be around $325,000 to $350,000. Bennet knows that having an ambulance, however, will help save the department thousands more that they would have to pay out to Lincoln Fire & Rescue.
“In the last three years, we’ve spent about $43,000 to LFR for non-transport calls,” Norris said. “The comes right out of our taxpayer dollars. Having an ambulance will allow us to cut that cost down significantly.”
There are also many other benefits that Bennet will have in their favor that will help offset the ambulance and equipment purchases. They’ll also maintain their Advanced Life Support agreement with LFR, will be critical for Bennet in times when that ALS help is really needed.
With Saturday’s fundraiser in the books, Bennet is still raising money for the ambulance and is always accepting donations. You can contact them on Facebook, or at the following address:
Bennet Rural Fire
P.O. Box 218
480 Fir St.
Bennet, NE 68317
You can also give them a call at (402) 782-6195.
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