By Brenda Crowell
Thanks to the Upton Fire Department Association’s fundraising efforts, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel now have quality straps for their portable radios.
“The town made a large purchase of new portable radios,” said Upton Fire Chief Mike Marchand. “These straps protect the radios to make them last longer for the community.”
The total cost of 30 straps – one for each radio purchased – was $1,043.25, and radio holders added an additional $958.50, according to Fire Department Association Secretary Nicole Wagner.
“Upton Fire Department Association raises money to support the Fire/EMS Department with equipment and materials not provided in the town’s budget, so we do accept outside donations,” Wagner said.
Other funds come from returns of cans and bottles from the containers behind the Fire Department.
“Anyone is welcome to drop off cans or bottles. When they’re full, someone from the Association or anyone from town who wants to help returns them, and that money gets put back into the Association’s funds,” Wagner said. “We recently used the money from those to purchase straps for the radios acquired under a grant last year. They’re nice straps that say Upton on them.”
Wagner explained that the straps were made by and purchased from local firefighter and Army veteran Mike Farias.
Besides can and bottle returns. the Association sends out a yearly flyer to town residents for donations and has raised funds with events such as a Halloween walk, haunted house, and Pancakes with Santa.
“So many people from town went to Pancakes with Santa,” Wagner said. “That was in collaboration with the Upton Men’s Club, who cooked a big pancake breakfast at the fire station and had someone dress up as Santa.”
In the past few years, Wagner said, the group has purchased jaws of life and ice rescue suits for the Fire Department.
Monies earned were also used toward purchasing a kit for the fire station for Stop the Bleed, which Wagner described as “a program that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.”
“The Association is comprised of both active and retired members of the Fire and EMS Department, spouses and peers of members of the department, and citizens of the town of Upton who want to give back,” Wagner said.
Membership in the Association is open to people aged 18 and older who have been Upton residents for at least six months. The group meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the fire station.