Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Duke Fire soliciting donations to build additional firehouse

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Kelly Sink-Blair

St. Robert Walmart, Intercounty Electric Cooperative make donations

ST. JAMES—The Duke Rural Fire District needs an additional firehouse to house equipment, so Fire Chief Ron Wyatt and board of directors are asking area businesses and residents for help. Their call for help has been heard. 

The Walmart Community Grant program, through the St. Robert Walmart, has donated $2,000 and Intercounty Electric Cooperative’s (IECA’s) Operation Round Up program has donated $1,000 toward the construction of an additional firehouse.

Lacking available shelter, at least four of Duke Rural Fire Department’s fire apparatus and equipment sit outside — exposed to ice, snow and freezing temperatures. 

The vehicles are not response-ready as tanks cannot be kept filled with water due to the possibility of freezing.

Vehicles sit outside of the Duke Rural Fire Department’s existing fire house — exposed to the elements. Duke Rural Fire is seeking assistance with funding to build an additional firehouse, that would allow for increased response times, better maintenance of its firefighting apparatus and equipment and potentially save lives. 

 “The critical thing is to get the vehicles inside where we can maintain them better,” Duke Rural Fire Board Member Ron Simpson said. “We need a heated environment for the pumper and tanker truck. It will improve overall readiness and reduce our response time.” 

Storing fire equipment indoors, away from the elements, will improve response time, which will reduce property loss and potentially save lives. It will also extend the life of the equipment and improve firefighter safety and morale. 

Walmart Associates involved with the St. Robert Walmart Community Grants program gather Monday Feb. 4, 2019 to present Duke Rural Fire Department with a $2,000 grant for its project to build an additional structure to house their vehicles and equipment. Store Manager Curt Wieda (left of the check) presents the check to Duke Fire Chief Ron Wyatt (right of the check) and Board Member Ron Simpson (right of Wyatt).  

“When I saw this application come across, I knew we could help,” said St. Robert Walmart Store Manager Curt Wieda.

Through the Walmart Foundation, Walmart seeks to create opportunities so people can live better – one community at a time. The foundation considers it their responsibility to make a positive impact in the communities Walmart serves. The Walmart Foundation meets the needs of the under-served by directing charitable giving toward its core areas of focus: opportunity, sustainability and community. 

The Duke Rural Fire Department needs to raise $61,700 to construct an additional bare-bones fire house to house fire apparatus and equipment. The district is tax-based but due to the sparsely populated rural area, the district generates about $15,500 annually. That keeps the fire department operational but doesn’t allow for major projects, like an additional firehouse. Despite the sparse population, the Duke coverage area is large, nearly 86 square miles. 

The fire department hopes to secure a larger grant and has sought the help of Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) for guidance on possible grants and fundraising strategies. Even with a larger grant, the department recognizes that it will need matching dollars, so a call for help has been issued. 

“We are very happy to be able to help with this project as there is an obvious need,” said IECA Economic Development Coordinator Tony Floyd.

Intercounty Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program donates $1,000 to the Duke Rural Fire District. Duke Fire District members Wayne Strohschein (left), Ron Simpson, and Duke Fire Chief Ron Wyatt received the donation from Intercounty Electric Cooperative’s Member Services Representative Kristin Sullins and Economic Development Coordinator Tony Floyd.  

Duke Fire received help through IECA’s Operation Round Up program. IECA’s Operation Round Up is a charitable program governed, funded, and supported by IECA members. A simple way for all of us to help a neighbor and ensure our communities continue to thrive. All of the funds collected through Operation Round Up are awarded to local families and organizations toward basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, health care and education. Funds granted are guaranteed to help local needs since award recipients must live within the IECA service area. Awards are decided by a seven-member board of cooperative members who volunteer their time to oversee the program. Requests for assistance are reviewed and evaluated once a month.  

For those wishing to donate to the Duke Rural Fire Department’s building project, you can donate online at www.gofundme.com/duke-rural-fire-department or contact the Duke Rural Fire Department Fire Chief Ron Wyatt at 573-435-8403 or through the Duke Fire Auxiliary by contacting Michelle Simpson at 573-435-6729.