The family of a former doctor with a rich Monticello history has made a sizable donation to the Monticello Fire Department.
As a matter of fact, the $75,000 donation from the Ellison Family Trust is the richest donation in Monticello Fire Department history.
The Ellison Family Trust donations include $10,000 in repairs and upgrades to the fire department’s 1929 fire truck, $4,200 toward the purchase of dress uniforms, firefighter attendance at an advanced driving road course, the replacement of portable radios, the purchase of equipment for the fire department’s proposed rehabilitation trailer, technological equipment that will allow for the viewing of footage from helmet cams at a fire scene over a wireless network, and a basket for an ATV that allows for safe patient transports and other equipment.
“We’re happy to do this,” said Mark Ellison, who represented family members at the Aug. 26 meeting of the Monticello City Council.
The Ellison family is eager to see the improvements to the new fire hall that the donation will help fund, as well as other things the family is funding for the fire department independent of the fire station, Mark Ellison said.
“Your generosity has been tremendous,” Monticello Mayor Brian Stumpf said. “We thank you so much.”
“This is just incredible,” Monticello Fire Chief Mike Mossey said of the Ellison donation.
“I can’t say enough what this opportunity means to us,” Mossey said. “We thank them for their generosity.”
Mossey said the Ellison family approached the fire department asking for a “wish list” of items the department would like to purchase. Items put on the list were those that are larger in scope that typically can’t be funded through fundraisers.
“We put together the list, and the Ellison family generously funded the entire list,” Mossey said.
The $10,000 in repairs and upgrades to the fire department’s 1929 fire truck will cover the cost of making mechanical repairs that will make the truck safe on the road. It was hard to find someone to work on a truck that’s 90 years old. Because of the truck’s age, repairs are more costly, Mossey said.
“We’re going to get it up and running again,” Mossey said.
The fire department uses the truck in parades, as well as funerals of former firefighters.
“We traditionally carry the caskets of deceased firefighters on the back of the truck,” Mossey said.
“Getting it repaired is a big deal to us,” he said.
The truck will also be put on display at the department’s new Chelsea Road fire station.
The drivers training course that will be funded by an Ellison grant will take place in St. Cloud.
“This will allow all members of the fire department to get trained on a professional driving course with the department’s larger trucks,” Mossey said.
There is a lot of value to the training course, especially for firefighters who are not used to driving big trucks and becomes even more relevant as the December arrival of the department’s new 100-foot ladder truck draws near.
“It’s longer and heavier than all our other trucks,” Mossey said.
As far as the fire department radios are concerned, the four new radios being purchased with Ellison donation monies will be replacing Motorola radios that are expiring.
“We need new radios, and unfortunately, they are fairly expensive,” Mossey said.
The dress uniforms being purchased with Ellison funds are dress uniforms for the department’s ranking officers, Mossey said.
The funding of a rehab trailer fulfills a long-time dream of those at the fire department.
Rehab trailers are used at the scene of fires, Mossey explained, and allow firefighters to take a break from fighting fires in a safe environment that allows them to rest, relax get hydrated - and in the winter- warm up.
“The closest rehab trailer is in Delano and its a Wright County shared trailer,” Mossey said.
“We really wanted our own,” he said.
The rehab trailer will be built on site in Monticello and will be housed at the new fire station.
“We’re sure some of our neighbors will request to use it, too,” Mossey said.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org