SFD presents plaque for gear donation

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Members of the Selma Fire Department (SFD) showed their appreciation on Wednesday to Cougar Oil and Selma City Councilman Carl Bowline for their donation of new turn out gear.

The funds were raised mainly from the Cemetery 5K Run that was held on October 27, 2018.

Race organizer Rex Jones, who also is with Cougar Oil, said both the SFD and Selma Police Department (SPD) needed assistance with equipment.

“There was a fire locally where a fireman had a problem with having appropriate turnout gear,” said Jones. “The idea came to me that we wanted to do something to raise funds to help solve that problem.”

Jones partnered with the Blackbelt Benefit Group, a local non-profit organization, so donations could be tax deductible.

“It just made it easier and cleaner for people to participate monetarily,” Jones said. “And they are well known in our community for putting on great events, so it was logical to partner with them on this.”

A total of 11 suits were purchased for the fire department, according to fire department officers.

Bowline also contributed by using his discretionary funds as a city councilman to help fund for the suits as well.

“I’m just doing what I think every council member should do,” said Bowline. “I will continue to do what I can. I know you all go out there with fires and we thank you for all that you do for our city.”

“We are going to raise more for you guys next year,” Jones said to the SFD employees in attendance Wednesday.

“You all show up and are part of the community,” said Bowline. “You reach out to the community, and that is important to stay grounded in the community. I know you all have to work together always, and we could all learn from how you do things.”

Both Jones and Bowline talked about the importance of keeping donated money in Selma.

“We have so many needs here that if we all keep our donations local we can contribute more,” said Jones.

On Feb. 6, 28 rifle-proof vests were donated to the SPD after one of their officers was shot while on duty.

“Each vest was roughly about $750,” said Jones. “We spent a little bit over $16,000 on all of them. They are rifle proof rated. There are ceramic plates in each vest, and they are rated for more than your average bullet proof vest. We saw a need in the community. We feel like these first responders put their life on the line everyday, and the least we could do is try to do something to make their lives a little bit safer. We have a lot of sponsors that donated money. It was a group effort, and the town came together. We had an overwhelming response from businesses and individuals from around town who wanted to give money and help.”