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John Nettleton and Jeremy Johnson of IEA Contractors present the Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life with a check for $10,000. Shown are (back row) Doug Haselhorst, Phil Hart, Dave Jacobsen, Jeremy Johnson, John Nettleton, Jason Finch and Colton Marsh, (front) Jeff Keezer, Brian Hain, Walt Storey and Cris Kurpgeweit.
A recent $10,000 donation has helped the Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life reach its goal for equipment upgrades.
IEA Contractors, which is overseeing the Upstream Wind Project north of Neligh, presented the department with a check for $10,000 on Monday night. Project Manager John Nettleton said it was important for IEA to not only give back to the community, but also to help with safety.
"When we come to town, we disrupt the area with construction, so we want to do something to show we do care about the area we're in," he said. "We don't normally donate to something like this, but the Jaws of Life struck us as something we should help with."
Nettleton said IEA didn't specify what the money should be used for as far as what equipment it purchased.
"It's for a good cause. That's what this was all about," he said. "Our company is a very family-oriented company. Our president came out here and when he left, he said let's give someone a pretty sizable donation."
Captains Dave Jacobsen and Cris Kurpgeweit said the donation has put the Jaws of Life over the top with what it needed for funding.
"It's phenomenal," Jacobsen said. "Without it, it's important to take these kinds of steps. This took us over the top."
The Jaws of Life is utilizing about $20,000 in new equipment thanks to the most recent funds. The City of Neligh's Lottery Fund accounted for another $10,000 while donations of $2,500 from the Neligh Rural Fire and $1,500 from Oakdale Rural Fire helped with the purchase, which included new stabilization struts, an air containment system and other tools.
Kurpgeweit said the stabilization struts are made for car and heavy equipment rescues, including semis. They said Neligh-Oakdale is the only Antelope County department that has the gear for heavy equipment rescues, and Kurpgeweit said Neligh-Oakdale will be able to provide mutual aid to the other departments thanks to new equipment.
The struts, they said, are protection for both the rescuers and the patient. Before a patient can be extricated, the struts need to be in place for stabilization.
Jacobsen said about 50 percent of auto accidents require usage of the struts to stabilize the scene. They said the new Super X Struts are considered the top of the line. Kurpgeweit said the struts arrived about a month ago, and the department immediately trained with them.
The Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life covers northern Oakdale, all of Neligh and the southern half of the Brunswick district, which is about one-third of the county.