It's been decades since the Great Chicago Fire prompted the national recognition of Fire Prevention Month, but fires continue to be a very real threat on farms across country. Local farmer Joy Render can attest to the importance of rural fire departments in Keokuk County in southeast Iowa, and earlier this year chose to support her local departments -- Keswick Volunteer Fire Department and North Keokuk County Fire Department -- with $5,000 in donations from America's Farmers Grow Communities.
"A few years ago, we had a hay fire and it burned down our barn," Render said. "Both local fire departments responded to the fire quickly and they were able to get our equipment out safely and put the fire out before it spread to the other buildings. The departments are full of dedicated volunteers that would do anything to help you, and I am so glad that I was able to return the favor with these donations."
October is Fire Prevention Month -- a great time for farmers to register to win $2,500 and donate it to their local fire department
Keswick Volunteer Fire Department is a small department that covers areas in Iowa County and Keokuk County, and is comprised of 13 volunteer members. The department is using its $2,500 donation to purchase a new tank for its tanker truck.
"In the rural areas we protect, we do not have a hydrant system and must haul water to all of the fires we fight," said Larry Bair, fire chief at Keswick Volunteer Fire Department. "Our old tank was leaking and did not transport water efficiently. With the new tank, we will now be able to provide a more reliable firefighting service in the counties we serve."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
North Keokuk County Fire Department is all-volunteer as well, and has a total of 21 members. The department used its $2,500 donation to pay a major truck bill when the engine on a truck needed replacing. "We feel so blessed that we received this donation; it could not have come at a better time," said Bill Hoylman, fire chief at North Keokuk County Fire Department.
This program gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct their donation to a non-profit organization in their county
In 2013, 45 fire and health-related organizations in Iowa received a total of $112,500 in donations through America's Farmers Grow Communities. Local farmers can register to win $2,500 to help grow their communities and support fire prevention in Iowa.
America's Farmers Grow Communities gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit organization in their county. Farmers have helped fund more than 5,200 organizations in rural America through America's Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The program launched nationally in 2011 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. Farmers and rural community members can now visit the America's Farmers Grow Communities website and register to win or submit an idea in need of funding. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural education and communities.
About the Monsanto Fund: This is the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Co., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto employees live and work. To learn more, visit the Monsanto Fund website.