Firefighters give up annual stipend
MESILLA, N.M. -- The town of Mesilla is closer to getting a much needed fire truck after a generous act of kindness from the volunteer firefighters who gave up the department's stipend if it meant the purchase of a new truck.
After applying for several federal and state grants without any success and a failed bond election, all 22 of the department's volunteer firefighters agreed to give up their $40,000 annual stipend to pay for the truck.
"They saw a need and they stepped up to overcome that need," said Mesilla Fire Chief Kevin Hoban. They realized as well as I do that our options were nil."
The truck they are hoping to replace is a 1986 Drummon pumper that has seen it's fair share of action over the years and is now becoming very costly to repair.
Hoban said the firefighters know first-hand how desperately a new truck is needed.
"It's not just a wish list," Hoban said. "They work with newer equipment and they realize we can do better here."
Most of the firefighters work for larger departments in the area and volunteer their time in the town where a lot of them began their careers.
When the bond election failed in March, Hoban said he asked god to give him a solution because the department desperately needs a new truck.
The solution came in the form of his own department making even more sacrifices than they already do.
"They're a great group and to do this just speaks volumes of who they are and their commitment to this community."
The town will now look at purchasing a new truck within the next six months.
The estimated cost of the truck is about $300,000 in addition to accessories required. The firefighters could be giving up their stipends for about 10 years.
Hoban said they will continue to apply for grants and seek other funding in hopes of possibly replacing a 14-year-old truck.