Just in time for Christmas, two Hazel Park firefighters deliver a used ambulance and donated protective gear to Villa Elysia, a poor town outside of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The US military transported the ambulance under the Denton Program which allows private donations to be moved when space is available. Mast Ambulance, of Kansas City, donated the ambulance and Novi donated the protective gear.
Fire Chief Ray DeWalt and Firefighter Kyle Rowinski use their vacation time and pay their own expenses to travel to Villa Elysia, the hometown of former Tigers pitcher Roman Colon. Now playing for Kansas City, Colon is a friend of DeWalt’s and went with the firefighters when delivered a retired fire truck in April. Rowinski said:
When we were down there before we saw the ambulance they were using was an old beat-up minivan. They cover a 30-square-mile area and this ambulance will help them. The majority of emergencies for fire departments are medically related.
Hazel Park became Villa Elysia’s benefactor when the best offer the city could get for its 20-year old pumper was for scrap. While looking for someone to donate the fire engine to, DeWalt’s friend Colon said his town had never seen a fire truck.
The firefighters found their way through the bureaucracy to get the engine delivered to Santo Domingo. They met it, drove it to Villa Elysia, and taught the locals how to use it. From that experience, Rowinski said he would always remember the townspeople’s gratitude.
We were able to take something that was going to be thrown in the garbage dump and helped a community. I think our next step will be to seek donations from other fire departments for old boots, helmets and gear they have taken out of service and send it down there.
Now Rowinski is seeing his next phase come true. And more.