Grain coop donates to help LaMoureLaMoure Public School and the LaMoure Volunteer Fire Department both dealt with a crisis this year and now have received some help. Wheat Growers gave the school and the volunteer department $20,000 each on Thursday.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
LaMoure Public School and the LaMoure Volunteer Fire Department both dealt with a crisis this year and now have received some help.
Wheat Growers gave the school and the volunteer department $20,000 each on Thursday.
Wheat Growers is a grain and agronomy cooperative in the heart of the James River Valley of South and North Dakota. It is owned by the members it serves.
The school aims to use the funds to complete restoration of the building following a fire this February, said Mitch Carlson, LaMoure superintendent. It destroyed one classroom, wiped out 95 percent of two others and caused smoke damage throughout the building.
Insurance will cover most of the estimated $1.5 million repair cost but there is still a need to replace 10,000 square feet of flooring, as well as ceiling tiles and paint, Carlson said.
Classrooms will also receive renovations during the remodeling.
“If you are going to upgrade the time is now when you are doing the whole thing,” Carlson said.
As the fiscal year wraps up, the $20,000 will help keep the district’s budget balanced, and not force deficit spending, he said.
“We’re very happy that Wheat Growers are extending a hand to the community,” Carlson said. “It’s a great gift for us and we’ll use it wisely.”
The donations are part of the New Markets Tax Credit program. The funding was allocated through Dakotas America LLC, a certified Community Development Entity that assigns allocations for qualifying projects in rural communities.
The donation for the fire department will help acquire new outer protective gear, said Ryan Stroh, president of the LaMoure Volunteer Fire Department. “It was pretty bad stuff we had,” Stroh said. “It was getting old and it doesn’t comply with the state, so it was time to get it replaced.”
The turnout gear the department has is between 15 and 25 years old. Through community donations, the department was recently able to purchase 13 new sets.
This grant should take care of 17 sets, so the active 30 members will all have up-to-date gear, Stroh said.
Any leftover funds will likely go for a Jaws of Life device, which costs $24,000 used and around $29,000 new. The device is used to extricate people when their vehicles are damaged in crashes.
“The money for that is pretty much non-existent with the economy the way it is,” he said. “So the funding for the equipment will be the biggest challenge facing the department in the future.”
Most of the money the department raises comes from the community, but this $20,000 will help a great deal, Stroh said.
“It’s a big boost, this is going to go a long way to keeping our guys safe,” he said.
The department holds fundraisers throughout the year. One of the biggest ones is coming on July 16.
Red Hot Fire Days will include a parade, hamburger feed, firefighter games and a street dance with all proceeds going to the department.
“Equipment — it’s one of the top priorities (for the department),” said Dan Ireland, assistant fire chief.
Wheat Growers has safety as a core value and in the mission statement, so helping the fire department and the school was an easy choice to make, said Steve Briggs, vice president and sales and marketing, Wheat Growers.
“We just selected them from a community standpoint. What are some places that need dollars?” Briggs said. “It’s just our commitment to the communities we serve.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com