Fundraiser to lay foundation for new Waucoma Fire Station

By Mike Van Sickle

With the assistance of the Lynch Family Foundation, the Waucoma Fire Department and First Responders/EMS will officially begin fundraising for the construction of a new fire station Wednesday, June 26. The Lynch Family Foundation will match up to $25,000 raised during the upcoming fundraiser. 

“The Waucoma firefighters and first responders are an important asset to the community and we are extremely pleased for the opportunity to help kick off their fundraising,” Lynch Family Foundation coordinator Melissa Blockhus said. “All donations will aid in providing further support for our local fire department and first responders.”

The June 26 event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., at the current Waucoma fire station. A meal, including hot dogs, brats, chips and cookies, will be provided. In addition to fire trucks, a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle, Westgate ambulance, a farm tractor and semi tractor will be on hand for children of all ages to view and have an opportunity to sit in. The department’s grain rescue equipment will also be on display.

Additionally, the Pink Heals Eastern Iowa fire truck from Vinton will be on site. Pink Heals is a national organization that promotes cancer awareness. Those in attendance can add their signatures to the countless others on the pink fire truck. Many of the signatures are from cancer survivors, those continuing their fight against the disease, or in memory of someone.

The Waucoma Fire Department currently consists of 22 firefighters and two cadets, who have a combined total of 419 years of service. Meanwhile, the first responders/EMS total 12 adult and four cadet members. Many of the local emergency personnel will be available to answer questions regarding the building project throughout the event.

“We are not surprised that some donations have already started coming in for the project,” Waucoma firefighter Jim Franzen stated. “We have always received generous support from the Lynch Family Foundation and our entire community.”

Firefighter Carl Kriener reported the new fire station will be located along Riverview Drive, across from the Waucoma Event Center, on the west side of the community. The land for the project was donated by Charlie Brannon. Kriener noted the entire Brannon family previously donated the land for the construction of the Event Center.

“When proposed, the building received unanimous support from the fire department and first responders/EMS,” Franzen added. “The first responders/EMS are our partners in this project, which will help us all better serve Waucoma and the surrounding communities.”

With an estimated cost of $550,000, the new station will provide over twice the space as the current structure, which was built in 1990, for the firefighters and first responders/EMS volunteers to utilize. The approximate 120’x66’ structure will include five truck bays, a meeting room, storage room, two offices and two bathrooms. 

“The trucks are bigger now and we have some of our rescue equipment hanging from the ceiling,” Franzen said, while explaining the need for more space. “Some of our equipment is not readily deployable, which in some circumstances people don’t have time for us to be delayed for several minutes to respond to a call.”

Firefighter Mike Kime noted the first responders will be buying their own vehicle to house in the building. One vehicle owned by the fire department is currently shared with the first responders, which can cause issues when two separate emergency calls come in at the same time. 

Additionally, the station will provide the first responders/EMS team with their own dedicated space for storage and meetings. A helipad will also be located in the front of the structure. Franzen said current plans are to break ground on the project this fall and begin construction in spring 2025.

Serving over 40 square miles, the Waucoma firefighters provide mutual aid and rescue support alongside six other neighboring fire departments. In addition to emergency services, the local firefighters provide assistance at various community events throughout the year.

While the department is operational as a city entity, the Waucoma Fire Association was established as a fundraising channel for this and future projects. As well as already receiving personal and corporate donations, the fire department has applied for grants to assist in funding the project.

While donations of any amount are accepted, sponsorship levels have been set:

• Firefighter Cadet-EMS Cadet: $500-$999

• Firefighter-EMR: $1,000-$2,499

• Officer-RN/EMT: $2,500-$4,999

• Assistant Chief-Paramedic: $5,000-$9,999

• Fire Chief-Nurse Practitioner: $10,000+

Donations for the fire station construction project may be mailed to Waucoma Fire Association P.O. Box 15, Waucoma, IA 52171. Checks should be made payable to Waucoma Fire Association. 

 

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