Fire department celebrates new acquisition

KEESEVILLE It was a magical day for the Keeseville Volunteer Fire Department last Saturday as they dedicated a new swiftwater rescue trailer. On May 19, over 100 people gathered to dedicate the departments new swiftwater rescue trailer in memory of Mark Dragoon. Dragoon drowned last summer in the river, and family and friends have put forth great effort to raise funds for the fire department since that time. The exterior of the trailer has a plaque in Dragoons memory, along with pictures of Keeseville fireman Dave Winner and Kyle Roberts taken during the search. The Dragoon family and friends wearing Marks Magic and the Band of Gypsies T-shirts attended the dedication. Many members of the group helped in the 10-day search. Keeseville Fire Chief Leonard Martin expressed his gratitude to the family. Words cannot express what you have done its been a pretty emotional year for all of us, said Martin. George Bassler, a member of the Keeseville swift water rescue team, said the equipment would help out the next time there was an incident in the river. Theyre not a very frequent thing, but when they do happen, they can be on the extreme end of risk for the rescuers, said Bassler. Bassler explained the trailer is stocked with equipment needed in swift water rescue situations, included two inflatable rafts. With the new trailer, response times are much quicker. Sen. Elizabeth Little secured $10,000 of funding for the water rescue trailer. She was impressed by the dedication of the department, and was happy to have been able to help. She added the skill and training of the swiftwater rescue team were a benefit to the entire North Country. Tom Dragoon nominated the department for the Firedog Across America contest, which was seeking the best above and beyond spirit of volunteer fire contests. The department was awarded $20,000 for being a finalist, and had a chance to win $100,000 by collecting online votes. Results of the contest were unavailable at press time, but were expected to be announced on Wednesday. Dragoon said votes for the department had come in from across the world, including China, Russia and France. Marks mother, Marie Miller, said she had been amazed by the support from the entire North Country. It touches our hearts we didnt realize how many people cared, said Miller. No matter where we end up in the fire department contest, were all winners in Keeseville today because we have increased fire protection, said Tom Dragoon. Keeseville Fire Commissioner Leon Clodgo said that the effort put forth was extraordinary. He said that Dragoons family had sparked the fire department, and enhanced the swiftwater rescue team. After time passes, (families) move on but (Marks family) is still here, said Clodgo. We have benefitted more than this family can ever believe.

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