Lions Club donates $10K for rescue boat
A $10,000 donation from the Palace City Lions Club is helping members of the Davison County Search and Rescue unit stay afloat -- literally.
Davison County Emergency Manager Jeff Bathke said the unit will use the donation to buy a new rescue boat, plus accessories needed to go with it. The Lions Club announced the donation during a meeting last week.
"It's amazing," Bathke said. "It's way more money than we ever thought we would have."
Members of the search and rescue unit are all volunteers, but their equipment is purchased using donations and is stored at facilities owned by Davison County.
Jeff Peart, vice president of the Palace City Lions Club, said the club chose to donate the money because it felt the unit was an important group to support.
"You never know when we may need to be rescued," Peart said. "We thought it would be good for them to have it on hand."
Davison County Search and Rescue hasn't gotten the boat yet, but Bathke said the unit plans to get it as soon as possible. The full-fledged rescue boat the unit is planning to buy will cost approximately $7,600 and will replace a flat-bottomed boat the group has used in the past.
Bill Sebert, a member of the unit, said the group has an annual budget of about $7,000 and would have a difficult time affording a new rescue boat on its own.
"Without the donation, it would be near impossible," Sebert said. "It would take us many years."
Bathke said the new rescue boat will be used for training and for any emergencies that arise on Lake Mitchell or the James River.
Nathan Sparks, another member of the unit, said the new boat will make any rescue attempts on the water safer and more efficient.
"We'll definitely get some training on it, but in the event that a rescue event is called up, now we're ready to go," Sparks said.