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Kenova Volunteer Fire Department receives donation

Mar. 21, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

KENOVA -- If Tim Bias had to describe the process of raising money to purchase two new ambulances for the Kenova Volunteer Fire Department, it would be "ask, and you shall receive."

That's because after months of asking for donations, Bias, the chief of the fire department, accepted a check for $25,000 from managers at the Braskem polypropylene plant during a ceremony Tuesday evening.

That money pushes the fundraising mark to $95,000, just less than half of the money the department needs to purchase the new ambulances, which cost $129,500 each, Bias said.

"Volunteer fire departments, generally speaking, don't have a lot of money anyway, so it's a pretty good undertaking for us to buy two ambulances at once," Bias said. "We found ourselves in a situation where we needed two, so that's what we're looking to buy."

Bias said one of the station's two ambulances was totaled in a wreck last year, and the second ambulance, a 2002 model, was aging quickly with more than 150,000 miles on it.

When he set off to raise funds for the ambulances late last year, Bias said he appealed to local businesses and residents, who sent in checks for $100, $500 and even up to $1,000 by the dozen.

After a few meetings with managers at Braskem, Bias said he heard in late December that the department would receive the $25,000.

Bias said the timing and some issues in ordering the ambulances had made it difficult to schedule the check presentation, but it was well worth the wait for Bias Tuesday night.

"They've been really nice throughout the whole ordeal, and they went above and beyond to help us out," Bias said. "I have thanked them over and over again. Without any of the people who've donated it would be hard for us to ever replace equipment."

Bias said he expects the new ambulances to become part of the department's fleet by July.