A Fund Drive Letter to the Paramount Community
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the outpouring of support last year to our fund drive! For those of you that contributed, your contribution allowed us to work towards completing a much-needed addition and renovation to our fire station. This addition added appropriate living quarters for our personnel to be able to answer your emergency more quickly. The work also included a renovation to the original 1971 structure to ensure that we adequately protect the apparatus and equipment that you have helped us purchase with your past generous contribution.
However, we still need your help! For over 48 years the Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Company has provided this community with fire and rescue protection, with an ever-increasing demand for service. From our inception in 1971, our responsibility to the community has dramatically increased, as the fire department responds to much more than just fires, having evolved to an all-hazards response. Just as our demand for service has dramatically increased, the costs associated have also dramatically increased.
The building project has left us working to pay-off an $880,000 low-interest loan from the state for the next thirty years, and is just one of many financial obligations that we are currently undertaking in our effort to provide you with the fastest and most efficient service possible. Since the mid-1990’s, in an effort for us to provide 24/7/365 service, we have provided career staffing out of our own budget to ensure a response during non-volunteer-friendly hours. Our volunteer personnel put in long hours training weekly as a company, not to mention the many outside training opportunities, to have the skills necessary if you ever need our help. Then, these same personnel put in the same amount of time, away from their families, to raise funds for us to stay operating.
We have tried other avenues to raise funds to augment our budget. One opportunity we have undertaken is providing Statement of Services to insurance companies on vehicle collisions and fires that we respond to within our own district. This has only raised a very limited amount of funds, as there is no requirement for payment. We also want to assure you that at no time do we bill you, the resident—only the insurance companies.
Within Washington County, your tax dollars, provide limited assistance to all of its fire and rescue departments that they rely on to protect all who live, work and invest here—including you! While that assistance is helpful and much appreciated, it is nowhere near what we need to operate as an effective emergency services organization. That is why we have reached out to you in the past, and why we are reaching out to you now, for your assistance. Our motto has been “A few serving many” which could not be a more accurate representation of the volunteer fire service as our communities develop and grow, but our volunteer numbers dwindle—placing an even larger demand on the trained responders that we have.
Aside from the building project, our fleet of apparatus is aging. Of our primary response apparatus, we have two engines (22 years old and 15 years old) and one ladder truck (19 years old). While we take great pride in our apparatus through an aggressive preventative maintenance program, it is important that we begin placing capital funds aside for the replacement of our fleet. Our goal is to provide the best equipment and apparatus possible for our most important resource—the highly trained and motivated personnel that are ready to respond to your emergency. Through the combination of these resources, we can be there to help you when you need us!
The costs associated with maintaining an emergency services organization are ever increasing. Without your support, we cannot exist. We have a modest budget of $268,000 that provides our necessities to operate. This budget is only partially funded by the county through their combined contributions of $146,000; requiring fundraising on our part for the difference of $122,000. To allow us to meet our budgetary needs and allow us to prepare for the future, we respectfully ask that you make a tax-deductible contribution to the Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Company today, to assist us. You may make a donation online by clicking the Donate button or watch your postal mail for this letter and use the reply envelope.
Please help us, help you. Thank you in advance for your support!