Special Ops team receives donation

By Amanda Collins

A 1997 International delivery truck donated by the Coca-Cola Co. will be repainted, decaled, and compartments will be laid out for the Patrick County Special Ops team to use when transporting their high and low angle rope rescue equipment. (Photo by Amanda Collins)

The Patrick County Special Ops Team is working to retrofit a donated truck to accommodate its gear, according to Clint Weidhaas, lieutenant of the 22-member team.

The truck, a 1997 International 12 bin delivery vehicle, was donated to the team by the Coca-Cola Co., Weidhaas said.

The team plans to repaint the truck and retrofit it to meet the needs of transporting high and low angle rope rescue gear and possibly confined space gear, Weidhaas said.

New decals, as well as sirens and lights, will be installed, he said, and noted that the team is made up of volunteers in Patrick and Henry counties who respond to any number of high-risk calls.

Weidhaas said the donation came about four months after he and other team members detailed their needs to the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.

At the time, Rickie Fulcher, vice chairman and of the Peters Creek District, said he contacted Wesley Lowder, of the Coca-Cola Co., Charlotte division, to ask if the company had a truck it could donate to the county.

Fulcher said Lowder then contacted the company’s headquarters and found a vehicle that fit the bill.

Weidhaas said that Woolwine Volunteer Fire Department also donated a crash truck. It will be picked up soon. Decals and other work also will be completed before the team puts it in operation.

Both trucks must be retrofitted and it will take time to get them ready for use, Weidhaas said, adding “compartments need to be laid out, tools need to be mounted” before the trucks will meet the team’s needs.

“None of this would have happened” if Fulcher hadn’t reached out to the company and been successful in getting a donated truck, Weidhaas said.

He added that he is glad Fulcher took the initiative and contacted the company on the county’s behalf.

Fulcher also is glad the request met with success.

“We were able to save the county about $30,000” for a used truck, Fulcher said.

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