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CERT starts fundraising campaign for new tow truck

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Neighbors helping neighbors, that’s the motto of the Outagamie County Community Emergency Response Team or CERT. The volunteer organization comes to the community’s aid when disaster strikes. And now it’s asking for help from the community.

You might not recognize the men and women that make up the Outagamie County CERT team, but chances are they’ve been in your community.

“From going out in neighborhoods, during disasters and putting out literature so people understand what services are available for, helping the Outagamie County Emergency Management Office program weather radios so that we can get weather radios out into the community to help people be aware of sever weather coming through,” says Gene Reece with Friends of CERT, Inc.

One of the volunteer group’s main jobs is providing support for first responders on the scene of major incidents, like fires, flooding and tornadoes -- just to name a few. The CERT team also responded to the Fox River Mall shooting, back in January, lending support to the hundreds of law enforcement officers who battled the cold while doing their jobs.

According to Grand Chute Police Chief, Greg Peterson, “We turned around and looked at this trailer, pulling into the parking lot, and within a very short amount of time we could wrap our hands around a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We had shelter and a place to get warm and that was a direct response by our CERT team here”

But getting to those scenes, with all of their equipment, is getting a little harder. The 1996 1996 tow vehicle, donated to CERT by the Appleton Fire Department, needs to be replaced.

Reece says, “It looks great. People would say, what’s wrong with that vehicle? But, mechanically it’s seen its life.”

And that’s why the Friends of CERT have launched a capital campaign to raise $75,000 for the purchase of a new tow vehicle. The Ford F-350 chassis would be outfitted for exactly what the CERT team needs.

“It would mean we don’t have to worry about getting to a scene. We know that it would be a new reliable vehicle, it would get us there safely, it would serve our needs, says team member Jolene Van Thiel.

Ensuring volunteers could live our their mission of neighbors helping neighbors.

Team member Barbara Held adds, “Please help us out, it would mean everything. It may be your house that’s on fire some day and we want to make sure we get there to help you.

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