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RANGELY I A formal ceremony last Thursday marked a $100,000 donation by the Chevron Corporation toward the purchase of two new Rangely Rural Fire Protection District (RRFPD) fire trucks.
The Rosenbauer tanker/pumper and aerial trucks, which are currently under construction in Sioux Falls, S.D., and will be delivered in December, are replacing trucks built in 1977 and 1983.
“This is the single largest purchase we’ve ever made. We knew we couldn’t purchase trucks outright without depleting our reserve,” Fire chief Andy Shaffer said. “We started soliciting oil and gas companies, among other possible funding sources, and we didn’t really know what to expect. Needless to say, (the Chevron donation) was a big surprise.”
The contribution makes a substantial dent in the $1 million price tag for the trucks. The fire district will put $500,000 toward the purchase from its reserves, with the remaining amount to be financed by the district or donated by other entities like Chevron who, the district hopes, will see the benefit of the trucks not only to the community but to the companies themselves.
“None of our trucks are set up to handle hydrocarbon fires,” Shaffer said. “These two are. That’s one of the big things we wanted to make sure these trucks had, so we could take care of the energy companies in our district.”
The Chevron donation was the result of a collaboration between Shaffer, Chevron Pipe Line Company team leader Rod Ficken, and Chevron upstreams operations technical team leader Jeff Roedell. Ficken and Roedell worked closely with Shaffer to understand how the new trucks would help meet community needs.
“When the fire district approached us and explained how old the fire trucks were, we realized the importance of the fire department to the town and to our operations,” Roedell said. “We thought if there was one big project we could fund, this is probably where it ought to go.”
Roedell and Ficken approached their respective policy, government and public affairs (PGPA) offices to request funding for the donation. Roedell worked with community engagement specialist Cary Baird, who went through contribution budgets for the Rocky Mountain Region “with a fine-toothed comb” to find the money, which was then combined with funds from Chevron Pipe Line Company’s PGPA.
“It became very evident that there was a need in Rangely and Rio Blanco County for assistance to public safety, and that the need was very pressing,” Baird said. “Fire protection is so critical to our operations. We want to be sure that emergency agencies are equipped to respond if the need ever arises. It seemed like an excellent time to step forward.”
County commissioner Ken Parsons commended Chevron for being the first company to support the purchase.
“If we don’t come up with the help locally, I don’t know how (the district) is going to get it,” Parsons said. “These donations are an important part of these energy companies’ long-term commitment to the communities. Chevron has been in the community longer than any of the others, and in times of need, it has really helped the community out.”
The county commissioners plan to make a donation of their own to help fund the trucks, Parsons said.
“We’re looking to see how the year goes, and I’m sure we’re going to have some unutilized funds somewhere,” he said. “We’ve discussed it, and we’d like to make a donation that’s on the same order of what Chevron’s done.”
As RRFPD board director Tim Webber opened the ceremony, he summarized the district’s appreciation for the contribution.
“On behalf of the board of directors and the Rangely community, we thank Chevron very much for this generous donation,” Webber said. “It shows how committed you are to the Rangely community.”