OXBO International of Byron comes to the rescue of rescue squad's ambulance
Photos and story by Pat Iamon, Byron Fire Department.
OXBO International of Byron stepped up to help the Town of Byron help others! The Byron Rescue Squad ambulance was showing its age. At 12 years old it was in dire need of some care.
“Our rescue squad has many dedicated members; we have, in this time of closing ambulance services, expanded ours," said EMT Captain Brad Nickerson. "Our team consists of some Advanced EMTs along with EMTs and regular firemen who happily pitch in when needed.
"Our team has dedicated over 1,000-man hours of their personal time answering calls, plus hundreds of hours in trainings to keep their skills current when every minute counts!”
Although the Byron Fire Department pays for the squad’s insurance, lodging and fuel which helps greatly; the squad runs on donations to keep up on education, supplies and maintenance. That maintenance is the costing the department more and more each year due to the aging of the ambulance.
“Our annual fund drive covers the bills only, but saving to replace our rig with donations seems unreachable, so for now we are just trying to keep it going,” Nickerson said.
This is where OXBO, Byron’s local industry, stepped in.
The running boards on the rig were hanging on by a thread; they were unsafe. Also, the back bumpers were in rough shape, one was being held in place with a bungee cord!
EMT Laura Platt thought she would ask her husband, Doug, who works at OXBO to ask his boss, Chris Chadborn, if OXBO could help. Chadborn did not hesitate, he said.
“Bring it down!” Assistant Chief John Durand and Platt drove the rig the couple miles to OXBO and a team immediately came out to access it.
The team determined that they could make new running boards and steps using the old ones as patterns.
Not wanting to keep the rig out of service, Steve Lockner, another Byron firefighter, along with Durand removed the parts and Platt’s husband took them to OXBO on his next work day.
When Platt asked Chadborn about the cost of replacing those parts, he said, "One hand washes the other."
“Our ambulance looked a little rough as we continued to answer calls while the parts were in the process of being replaced by OXBO,” Platt said. “But it wasn’t long before my husband, Doug, came home from work with the new shiny black running boards and bumpers.”
Both Lockner and Durand installed the new parts immediately.
“Our rig was safe once again, and how great it looks with the new parts made to perfection!” Platt said. “This Holiday Season the Byron Rescue Squad is very thankful to OXBO International for the gift of their expertise in metal works, which has allowed us to continue helping our little community.
"Next year’s wish is to somehow secure funding to start the process of replacing our 12-year-old ambulance. A new ambulance would cost $200,000 to $300,000, not including the equipment. A new ambulance would give our dedicated and willing volunteers even more ways to come to the aid of our community.”