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Community creates new Great Falls Fire Rescue Foundation

Great Falls Fire Rescue
Posted at 7:51 PM, Feb 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 12:35:13-05

GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Fire Rescue needs help, and community members are stepping up to raise money for the Great Falls Fire Rescue Foundation.

“The last 20 years, since 9-11, this country, this state, has been unbelievable in the respect and treatment of the military. I think that should go also to our police officers and our firemen that every day, 24/7, 365 are always on the leading edge,” said Brad Livingston, a member of the Board of Directors for the foundation.

The foundation plans to lend a helping hand for what the yearly city budget can’t cover for training, supplies, and office infrastructure. The foundation is creating a priority list for the department which will designate what is most important to its needs.

“Recognizing that budgets only go so far and there are some things that just do not get purchased. We think this foundation has an opportunity to fill the gap in some of those cases.”

Another member of the Board of Directors, Brianne Laurin, credits her efforts to supporting firefighters in honor of her uncle. Her Uncle Gary suffered severe burns in an accident, which led to fire first responders, ultimately saving his life.

“Just knowing what he has instilled in me as a father figure in my life. I wanted to try to use my skills in fundraising and outreach to try to grow this foundation.”

The foundation is growing since its inception in 2022, with what Laurin says is “friend-raising” to eventually begin fundraising and bringing awareness that the foundation is present for the fire department.

Deputy Fire Chief of EMS, Jeremy Virts, believes this foundation is a way that a busy department can connect with the community when their schedules don’t allow it.

“We face a $1.2 million general fund deficit, I think. It's tough to go to the department or the city and say, ‘Hey, we need more money.’ We have money to put fuel in the trucks and keep trucks on the road. For other stuff like training props, are very expensive and inflated costs since we bought this one is quite a bit.”

Great Falls Fire Rescue personnel spends nearly 16 days each month training for emergency medical responses, and wear and tear on equipment is inevitable.

“This mannequin, I think, was about 8,00 bucks, almost $9,000. The baby that Kate has is about $5,000. That's the cost of doing business. This mannequin now to replace it is probably 12 to $14,000.” Virts added.

To begin fundraising efforts, Mighty Mo Brewery in Great Falls is designating its weekly “Raise a Pint Night” to the Great Falls Fire Rescue Foundation.

Laurin explained, “On Monday, February 20th. It will be designated to Great Falls Fire Rescue Foundation. We get $1 from every pint sold.”

One dollar from 16 ounces of local beer supporting an essential service is just the beginning for the foundation.

To donate outside of the “Raise a Pint Night” you can visit, visit the “Donate” tab, and submit a contribution.

“It's an essential service. The city can't thrive without sanitation, law enforcement, and fire services. If you don't have one of those three, something's going to go wrong.” Virts explained.

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