The Lake Windermere District Lions Club has beefed up the tool chest at the Invermere Fire Department.
Starting this week, the Invermere firefighters will have a new Jaws of Life added to their belt. It will give the fire hall a second hydraulic rescue tool, which allows the team to deliver heavy-duty cutting or spreading at multiple emergencies.
The team has not yet encountered a situation where a Jaws of Life is required at two locations, but a member of the Lions proposed a proactive approach. Ray Hemmelgarn, who passed away late in May, made his final motion as a Lion at the regular meeting on Monday, May 5th, proposing the club support the purchase of a new Jaws of Life. Hemmelgarn also spent many years volunteering as a firefighter in Invermere.
“The organization was very important to him,” said Harold Hazelaar, president of the Lake Windermere District Lions Club. “At Ray’s suggestion, he said that we should fund this.”
The price tag for the new machinery was a little over $20,000. The Lions donated $17,234.36, and thanks to the Fireman’s Ball and community support, the fire department was able to take care of the remaining $3,000.
In 2010, massive fundraising efforts allowed the Lions Club to donate the Number One Engine to the fire hall. The Jaws of Life has been the Lions’ largest contribution to the fire hall since donating the truck, which they feel a duty to properly equip, said Hazelaar.
The new equipment will be lighter and more portable, allowing it to be carried in a raft or helicopter if need be.