|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Wednesday, 11 August 2010 08:00|
Volunteers who want to keep property taxes low and simultaneously encourage projects that increase health and safety for Verde Valley residents are working with a local nonprofit group to support Verde Valley Fire District.
More than 20 people have already volunteered to help Verde Valley Fire District Charities raise $6,000 to buy car seats and bike helmets for residents unable to afford them, Doug Longfellow, VVFD Charities president, said.
The relatively new organization was awarded its 501(c)(3) designation in late July, which will allow supporters to make tax-deductible donations to the group, Longfellow said.
VVFD Charities is looking for donations and volunteers to help meet the demand for safety equipment and training.
With certified car seats for infants costing as much as $100, VVFD Charities saw a need arising out of the recent recession and decided to fill it by continuing the district’s program of buying safety equipment and donating it to those in need, Longfellow said.
“This has no doubt saved lives and prevented a lot of injuries,” Longfellow said. “The first part of your body to make contact with the road when you get into an accident riding a bicycle is your head.”
Bike helmets and car seats will be distributed at special events, like a bike rodio, to be scheduled in late August or early September.
Likewise, local ambulance companies use the car seats to transport children to Phoenix. Infants must be transported in a certified seat. VVFD Charities wants to save VVFD and ambulance companies the expense of buying infant car seats.
A retired firefighter, Longfellow said VVFD Charities has other plans, including raising money to purchase an all-terrain vehicle with an ambulance attachment and to help pay tuition of firefighters taking paramedic training, which can take one year and cost $3,500.
“Assisting some of these young firefighters with the $3,000 to $3,500 it costs for paramedic training helps everyone in the Verde Valley because it improves the quality of our emergency response,” Longfellow said.
A car wash and bake sale at 2700 E. Godard Road are scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, and last until noon. All proceeds will go to the free car seat and bike helmet program, Longfellow said.
A chili cook-off is planned for later in August with details to be announced.
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