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Mendon Fire Department Awarded Grant

Members of the Mendon Public Safety Departments stand with Congressman Richard Neal who announced a $190,000 grant that was awarded to purchase a new tanker. From L to R: An Intern, Firefighter/EMS Garret Wante, Lt. Don Blanchette, Emergency Medical Services Director Mark Bucchino, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Poirier, Congressman Richard Neal, and Police and Fire Chief Ernie Horn.

On February 3, Congressman Richard Neal, D. 2nd District, traveled to Mendon to announce that the Assistance to Firefighters organization was awarding the Mendon Fire Department a Homeland Security grant totaling $190,000. The grant program is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and helps firefighters and first responders obtain critically needed protective gear, vehicles, and training. Mendon's grant monies will be put toward a new 2,500 gallon tanker. "This is a big deal for Mendon," said Neal to the Fire and EMS staff present at the announcement.

According to Mendon Fire Chief Ernest Horn, the grant monies couldn't have come at a better time explaining that he recently was forced to take a 40-year old, 2,000-gallon tanker/pumper out of service because it would not have passed inspection. As a result, the Department is currently short one emergency response vehicle. "We certainly got our use of it," he said of the old vehicle.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Poirier wrote the grant proposal with some assistance from Emergency Medical Services Director Mark Bucchino. This was the third year Mendon had applied for the grant and it appears the third time was the charm.

Although Mendon's grant totaled $190,000, the cost to purchase a new gallon tanker will cost additional monies. As a result, the Public Safety Department will need to come before residents during a future Special Town Meeting to request the extra funding. Horn did not want to speculate the total cost of the new tanker prior to it going out to bid.

Each year, the Mendon Fire Department applies for a variety of grants. Over the years, the Department has received the S.A.F.E grant for student awareness and fire education, an Emergency Management Performance grant, as well as other Homeland Security grants.

After Neal made the announcement in Mendon, he was then scheduled to travel to Bellingham to present its Fire Department with a Homeland Security grant for $161,000 to be used for training. In all, eight Massachusetts Fire Departments received grants from the Assistance to Firefighters group this year.


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