The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 21, 2013

Grant money aiding Wilmore volunteers’ firefighting efforts

WILMORE — The past few years have been a trying time for the Wilmore Fire Company.

After the loss of nearly $25,000 stolen by the company’s former fire chief and treasurer and a structure fire in their own attic last year, the volunteers are ready for some good news.

The company recently landed $13,000 through three grants sought by John Dubnansky, Cambria County grant facilitator.

That money is already working for the company in the form of a new SUV squad unit that is capable of pulling an equipment trailer and an all-terrain vehicle that can take crews into tight or naturally rugged areas.

Wendy Boring, the company’s new treasurer, said the ATV offers new mobility options for firefighters and could bolster effectiveness in search and rescue situations.

“It’ll go in brush fires and we can take it along the railroad tracks,” she said. “If there’s an accident in the woods, like an ATV accident, then we can take that in there and go to them.”

The fire company’s most recent grant for $10,000 was a 50/50, with $5,000 coming from the state and the remainder from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and The Wal-Mart Foundation.

“Anytime anyone’s reviewing applications, they’re looking for something that stands out, something that’s unique – a story to go along with it,” Dubnansky said.

He said the human aspect regularly influences the grant review process.

“Typically, you customize each application to that particular project and that group,” he said. “This is a small, rural fire company who are on some hard times – you tell that story in the grant application to match the priorities of the fund­ing agency with the needs of the project.”

Dubnansky, who initially was put in contact with the company last summer through Cambria County Commissioner Tom Chernisky, said he’ll be working more with the fire company to secure future funding that would go toward the purchase of more equipment, such as radios.

The next in-house fundraiser helping Wilmore to get back in step will be on Saturday at the firefighters’ annual sub sale.

Chernisky said he thinks any chance to aid the community through fundraising, whether it’s public or private, should be seized.

“Anytime you can help our community, the region, Cambria County or our first responders, that’s a good news story,” he said.

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