CFD earns Bucket Brigade grant from Georgia-Pacific

Money will be used to buy new turnouts

Georgia-Pacific officials presented a check for $10,000 to the Camas Fire Department. Pictured above are (left to right) Mayor Scott Higgins; CFD employees Kevin Villines, Wade Faircloth, Chris Richardson; Camas Mill Spokeswoman Nancy Viuhkola, Camas Plant Manager Gary Kaiser; and CFD employees Cliff Free, Kevin Bergstrom, James Tierney and Larry Larimer. Buy this photo

A grant from Georgia-Pacific will help the Camas Fire Department purchase new turnouts for its firefighters.

A check for $10,000 was delivered to the CFD following a presentation on Wednesday. The money comes from G-P’s Bucket Brigade program, which aims to assist rural and small town fire departments.

The CFD was one of 25 fire departments chosen for the grant from the more than 300 communities where G-P has facilities in the United States.

“It was good to see Camas being selected to be a recipient in the Bucket Brigade program,” said Camas Plant Manager Gary Kaiser. “I know the local fire department will utilize the grant money to better their readiness and response serving our community.

“The Camas mill has a very strong relationship with the Camas Fire Department and our interdependency on serving both the mill and community is a true testament of this relationship,” he continued. “Camas is a great community and Georgia-Pacific is proud to be part of this growing area.”

CFD Capt. Kevin Bergstrom said the contribution comes at an important time.

Due to budget reductions implemented in reaction to a struggling economy, some funding that would have been dedicated to equipment replacement was deleted from the 2012 budget.

The Camas Fire Department employs approximately 37 firefighters and paramedics.

At $2,000 each, outfitting emergency responders with the proper gear isn’t cheap.

“It is a lot of money,” Bergstrom said of the grant. “This is just fantastic. It’s phenomenal. The fact that it’s coming from the local mill, that’s the nice part about it.”

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins said the grant is another example of how partnerships with public and private entities can benefit the city and the local community.

“They are critical,” he said. “There’s a lot of good energy out there right now, and we are going to capitalize on it. We all want the same thing — good public safety.

The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade is a national program that recognizes and supports the contributions of fire and rescue units in communities with Georgia-Pacific facilities.

The grant program, which has doled out $800,000 in its six-year history, supports firefighters in several areas including cash donations for equipment and safety education materials for presentations in local schools.

“Fire and rescue units in our local communities play such a vital role in safety. They are often the only emergency units in towns where we have operations,” said Jim Hannan, chief executive officer and president. “It means a lot to our employees and our company to be able to support these departments through our Bucket Brigade grants.”

While this is the first time the CFD has received a Bucket Brigade grant, the Washougal Fire Department was a recipient in both 2006 and 2010.

“The Bucket Brigade grant program is an excellent example of Georgia–Pacific recognizing the needs within their local communities that is often overlooked and underfunded,” said Larry Wagoner, Camas mill employee and Washougal volunteer firefighter, “The monies that are distributed within the community through the fire service benefits everyone equally.”

Georgia-Pacific, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., is a privately-owned company headquartered in Wichita, Kan.

The Camas mill employs approximately 523 people.