Donations needed for UTV on Chambers Island, vehicle to honor late daughter of De Pere Fire Chief
De Pere Fire Chief Alan Matzke and his family spent a lot of time on the island, and now they’re working to honor the life of their daughter, who always wanted to save a life
DOOR COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A donation from BayCare Clinic Foundation on Wednesday is helping a small Door County community get closer to getting the help they need when an emergency strikes, but your help is needed to raise the rest of the funds.
The help stems from tragedy, and starts in De Pere with the City’s Fire Chief and his late daughter.
Chambers Island is about seven miles off the coast of Door County, which is where De Pere Fire Chief Alan Matzke spent a lot of time with his family - including his 29-year-old daughter, Shelby.
“She was an individual who would make time for people, million dollar smile, but never wanted to be center of attention,” says Chief Matzke.
He says she often played more of a supportive role, even when emergency situations unfolded on Chambers Island.
“We had a grass fire last year, spread rapidly and it took every islander that was there to help - she worked hard to help extinguish the fire,” said Chief Matzke.
That’s because help is at least 30 minutes away - by boat.
“So you can imagine with a medical emergency, it’s all about time,” said Chief Matzke.
When his son had an ATV accident there in 2006, he knew it was time to do something.
“The island community came forward, tried to help, but the problem was they didn’t know what to do and didn’t have equipment,” said Matzke.
That’s when Chief Matzke - and his family, including Shelby - helped start the ‘Citizen Emergency Response Team’, or CERT.
“We decided to hold classes, training sessions every Saturday morning,” said Chief Matzke. That training included search and rescue efforts, fire fighting, and medical emergencies.
“What do you do for 45 minutes if... someone has a heart attack, if there’s a fire - we train to that,” said Matzke.
That training comes as a relief for Jerrad Anderson, Gibraltar’s Assistant Fire Chief.
“Without Chambers Island being about half hour away from jurisdiction, anything we can do to get things moving before we get there is a benefit,” said Anderson.
However, there are still limitations, such as dirt roads, and all one lane.
That’s where a fundraiser for a new UTV comes in.
“A vehicle like this - small, maneuverable and capable of hauling equipment and people - is a game changer for the island,” said Anderson.
The UTV is closer to reality, thanks to the BayCare Clinic Foundaton’s donation.
“We at the foundation have got over $12,600 and this will go toward Gibraltar to buy a UTV for first responders on Chamber Island,” said Dr. Christopher Sorrells of the BayCare Clinic Foundation.
“Having a tool like this from generous donation, from BayCare Clinic Foundation, is beyond words,” said Matzke.
That’s because on the bottom of the check, you’ll notice the donation is in honor of Shelby, who was killed in a highway crash last year.
“What occurred on November 25, was tragic,” said Matzke. “I want this to be a refresher - drive safe, driving too fast for conditions contributed to what happened to Shelby, it was rainy and foggy.”
“It’s one of those things, you think how could something so horrible happen to someone so good,” said Anderson.
The crash left members of the Chambers Island CERT team wondering how they could help the Matzke family.
But instead, the Matzke’s found a way to help, and where Shelby will continue to play a supporting role in taking care of a community.
“UTV is the most useful we could have out there,” said Tobin Berkovitz, a CERT Team member on Chambers Island.
“The generous donation and gift helps turn this into a positive,” said Matzke.
Shelby’s mom says she had a bucket list, and one of those items was to save a life - now, she can save many, as the UTV has Shelby’s signature.
“This emergency vehicle has her name all over it,” said Matzke.
CERT Team member Fawn Rogers added the team will cherish the new vehicle, and will also cherish Shelby’s name on it.
So far, Chief Matzke says they have about $13,000 to put toward the new UTV, however, the total cost will be about $20,000.
If you’d like to donate, you can do so by CLICKING HERE to e-mail the Gibraltar Fire Chief, or you can call 920-421-3456.
You can also make a donation on their Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/chambers-island-utv
CLICK HERE to visit the Gibraltar Fire Department’s website. The department is responsible for the CERT team on Chambers Island.
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