PEPPERELL — A very nice gift showed up at the Pepperell Fire Department thanks to the members of the Hook and Ladder Company.
For years, predating the tenure of the longest current member, the company has been raising funds.
Those funds were supposed to be used for something to raise the morale of the members of the company said Capt. Mike Blood and Lt. Paul McBraerty.
But, the company did not think it was fair to use money that previous members worked for on themselves. It just wasn’t right for the present members to go out for dinner or a cruise using money others raised, McBraerty said.
Instead, they bought a $13,500 utility task vehicle for the department.
The gray Polaris Ranger came as a complete surprise to everyone else in the department including the chief, said Blood. The gift was announced at the annual Christmas party.
“It went off really well,” Blood said.
“This was a shock,” said Chief Toby Tyler.
The company raised money over the years by renting out a party tent and selling food at the Crank Up Show, a display of antique gas engines and tractors, McBraerty said.
Combined with the money already in the company’s account, the amount grew and grew and grew, Blood said. The purchase happened after the company voted on how to use the funds.
“We’re pretty excited,” Tyler said looking at the six-wheeled vehicle at the Jersey Street station.
It will be used for brush fires and rescues on the rail trail, Tyler said.
The back of the UTV can be outfitted with a skid to carry hoses or with a skid accommodating emergency medical equipment, he said.
If another department needs to borrow it, or if it needs to be transported any distance within town, the police department has a trailer that can accommodate the vehicle, he said.
The department plans to add lights to the front, Tyler said.
The first training on driving the vehicle was scheduled for March 10. “It’s kind of simple,” Tyler said.
The vehicle looks straightforward from the cockpit. It has two seats, a steering wheel, brakes, gas pedal and a knob with two forward gears and reverse.
Creature comforts are minimal. The UTV lacks a windshield.
The Christmas gift will be ready to roll well before many start to use the rail trail and before brush fire season.
“It’s something we certainly can use,” Tyler said.
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