Baptists get retired city ambulance

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2007

FRANKLIN—The Blackwater Baptist Association of Virginia will benefit from a retired city ambulance.

Franklin Fire and Rescue Chief Vince Holt told the city council Monday that the organization had inquired about the surplus vehicle, which will be used to pull a disaster relief trailer.

The 24-foot box trailer, purchased new by the association in November, is being converted to a facility to be used in emergency situations, according to Keith Blythe, disaster relief volunteer.

&uot;It has four shower rooms, and a laundry/utility area with washer and dryer,&uot; he said. &uot;It has one lavatory and one kitchen-type sink.

&uot;It will also have a water purification system on board.&uot;

The city council voted unanimously to donate the vehicle.

Blythe said volunteers have put many hours in the project on the weekends and in the evenings.

&uot;It is approximately 85 percent complete,&uot; he said.

Blythe said that the idea originated after members of the Blackwater Baptist Association of Virginia had traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to help with relief.

Realizing the need for a new mobile facility, the group began implementing the idea soon afterward. They will be able to use the trailer wherever they may be dispatched to help.

&uot;We are very committed to getting the trailer field ready,&uot; Blythe said. &uot;We’re trying to get it complete before the end of this hurricane season.&uot;

Holt told the council that from personal experience during hurricanes Floyd and Isabel, it would have been have such a facility to provide hot showers, noting the closest place was Carrsville Fire Station.

&uot;Anything you can do to provide normalcy means a lot to people,&uot; he said.

&uot;A lot of thought went into this trailer. It’s a resource that would not only be available locally, but would find its way to other locations (in need of disaster relief).&uot;

Holt said in a letter to the city manager that not only would the vehicle be able to tow the trailer, it would provide storage space for disaster relief supplies.

He also told the council if the vehicle was sold at an auction, the highest amount that could be obtained for the retired Medic 5 would be $1,500.

&uot;This is a good opportunity to give the Blackwater Baptist Association a vehicle that meets their needs and tow a tremendous piece of equipment,&uot; Holt said.

&uot;I hope it’s a resource we never have to have in our area, but if we have another Isabel or Floyd, it will be a great resource.&uot;

The council voted unanimously to donate the vehicle.

Blythe said in a later interview, &uot;We are grateful to the city for their consideration and thankful for their participation in this (project).&uot;