ROV fundraising efforts succeedThe Jamestown Dive and Rescue team will be getting a new tool after help from a local woman, her family and friends and the community.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Dive and Rescue team will be getting a new tool after help from a local woman, her family and friends and the community.
As of last week enough funds have been acquired for the purchase of a remote operated vehicle. This piece of equipment is an improved model from the one used to find a Jamestown man after he fell through the ice in December.
Leanne Buckley lost her long-time partner Darrin Ackerman and endured an eight-day search at Jamestown Reservoir.
It was an ROV from Duluth, Minn., equipped with cameras and SONAR that finally found Ackerman’s body.
It was not ideal dive conditions during the search, said Jim Reuther, chief of the Jamestown Fire Department. Divers could only stay under water for a limited time and the water was dark and murky.
Jagged ice underneath a pressure ridge was tangling up the divers’ tethers. Now with a ROV, divers may not even be needed during a rescue.
“It’ll be water-ready as soon as we receive the training,” Reuther said.
Buckley put together a fundraiser at the end of April. The one-day event, plus donations from the community, raised about $24,000.
Reuther had funds from a $25,000 state department of emergency services grant reallocated to be used for the ROV. He saved $12,000 on a previous grant and another state grant comprised the final $27,000 for the total of roughly $87,000. That includes $6,000 for training.
“After the incident we wanted to figure out a way to get enough funding,” Reuther said. “Leanne, her family and friends I believe are the ones who made this happen in a short amount of time.”
The unit, which is about the size of a 12-pack of soda, will also be used elsewhere around the state by other dive and rescue teams as needed.
“I’m really happy. We got it, we accomplished something, that’s for sure,” Buckley said.
She said she was originally disappointed with the fundraiser turnout, but that feeling didn’t last for long.
“I was a little disappointed that day, but then I sat and thought about and we did excellent,” Buckley said. “We couldn’t have done better.”
Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said the fundraiser was vital in obtaining the ROV.
“We got to give 100 percent credit to the family of Darrin for doing the fundraiser and getting it out there,” Kaiser said of the campaign.
Kaiser, who will be one-third of a team that will operate the ROV, said safety is key. He also said this is some of the best technology for this region.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s nice we got to see this thing work and we know it’ll work,” he said.
It’ll be at least three months as the city has to bid out the purchase. The ROV will be a brand-new machine with newer technology compared to the one used in December’s search.
“They did a lot of work and to have it go to an ROV is an awesome thing,” Kaiser said of Buckley and her friends and family.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com