Scrapping Builds a Dive Team

By Joanne Dunfee

When it comes to dedication, perseverance, and a deep burning desire to have a water rescue and recovery team, the volunteer fire department of Grayson, Kentucky, began an environmental cleanup to raise money for the needed equipment. 

Lieutenant Kyle Morgan and Sergeant Travis McHenry with other Grayson Fire Department members began hauling and selling scrap this past spring and summer for needed gear, equipment, and a trailer for a dive team. They also an article published in the Grayson Journal-Enquirer and Ashland Independent and were interviewed by WGOH-WUGO radio station and WSAZ television of Huntington, West Virginia. 

Beginning with $3,500. from the 2009 coal severance money, the team set a goal of $10,000. to purchase several complete sets of gear. Having reached their goal, the team went to New Horizons in Lexington, Kentucky, and bought the very best equipment possible, including four full face masks –two with communication – and R395 regulators. 80 cu. in.-aluminum tanks, and five sets of gear. The list of the equipment they acquired goes on, but one of their biggest buys was a trailer to haul their equipment and gear.

To form this dive team, the members took on the duty not only the buying of equipment but also cleaning up the environment. They have received a bulldozer, backhoe, road grader, a stove, and tons of scrap metal. A local towing service, Wolf’s Towing, towed donated vehicles for the team. Removing wrecked vehicles and scrap metal from the countryside, the team has helped make the land safe. The team worked through this past spring and summer and continues to collect scrap.

When water rescues and recoveries have happened in the past, dive teams from other areas have had to come into Grayson, which lost precious time for those needing rescued. Responding not only to the need for equipment, the members began training and became qualified this past spring and summer. The Grayson City Council, which is fully behind the fire department, paid for six members to travel to Mermet, Illinois, to further theirtraining. The Grayson Fire Department now has a well-qualified team and is ready to respond at a moment’s notice. Of the 13 team members, eight are advanced, two are rescue, and three are open water. 

The Grayson Volunteer Fire Department continues to collect scrap metal and raise money. Chief Greg Felty can’t say enough about his two officers, Morgan and McHenry, who started the project. Of the 34 volunteers, each member contributed to the project in some way. Felty said, “Put the idea out there, and [our] members will take it to the fullest extent to make it a reality”.

The Rescue and Recovery Team gives the Grayson Fire Department a resource for water emergencies, which will not only benefit our city but the county and northeastern Kentucky. 

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