© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Sgt. Brad Chugg, left, and city fire chief Randy MacDonald load a truck up with equipment that is being donated to the Dominican Republic community of Hato del Yaque.
Some decommissioned firefighting equipment from Charlottetown will soon find a new home more than 3,000 kms away.
Sgt. Brad Chugg, an RCMP officer who also runs the non-profit Son Seekers Ministry with his wife Cynthia, and members of the Charlottetown fire department, spent much of Friday afternoon loading a truck with fire gear to be sent to a community in the Dominican Republic.
Chugg is taking the gear to Saint John, N.B. Saturday, where it will be combined with other donated gear from fire departments throughout the Maritime provinces. That combined load of gear will eventually leave Canada on Jan. 14, when it will make its way to Hato del Yaque, a community in the Dominican Republic that borders on Santiago.
“They’re just ecstatic to get it,” said Chugg. “(They’re) very, very grateful.”
The idea of donating the gear was introduced when the Chuggs visited the Dominican community about two years ago, where most of the approximately 27,000 citizens live in poverty.
Some of Chugg’s connections in a local policing agency introduced him to the mayor of the community.
“The mayor asked me if I had access to fire hoses,” said Chugg, adding that the community has no firefighting gear of its own. “I figured I could find them some… One thing led to another and it turned into a full container load of firefighting gear for them.”
Thanks to the city’s fire department, as well as the department at the Charlottetown Airport, the community will receive a number of items including; helmets, boots, hats, pants, coats,more than 475 feet of fire hose, a portable pump and nozzles.
Chief Randy MacDonald said that as the department’s equipment was being updated and replaced, used gear and other equipment was put into storage in hopes of contributing to the campaign.
“We’re just one of many groups that have gathered equipment for this purpose, but we’re happy to be a small part of the effort to help. We want to show our support and thank Brad Chugg and the Son Seekers Ministry – the non-profit group that organized this – for reaching out.”
Chugg’s ministry has also provided T-shirts to a youth organization in the country which is focused on community policing concept of targeting other youth to help reduce crime.
He said the plan is to eventually also help teach those in the community how to properly and safety fight a fire.
“The long-term plan is to then take down hopefully a team of firefighters from Canada that will train them for probably five or six days.”