NEWSLETTER FALL 2001:
Dear De Luz Neighbor,
By your receipt of this letter, you are within the response area of our Volunteer Fire Department. We are a fledgling fire agency, only three years old, with six fire engines and 18 volunteer firefighters covering the large 36 plus square mile area of De Luz. We are trained weekly with our De Luz CDF crew and have established ourselves as a State and County recognized fire agency. To date, we have fought 32 fires throughout De Luz. This has often have made the difference between having a small controllable blaze and a major "out of control" wildfire. We are protecting, not only, your homes, but also, our own. This Department was formed as a small fix to our lack of fire protection in our unincorporated extremely high fire risk community. Each one of us is ready to respond, day or nights, at moments notice to protect your lives, your homes, and your community without being paid a dime! Why do we do it? Simple, it needed to be done!
Unlike most volunteer fire departments, our funding does not come from your CSA real estate tax money or any government funding of our operating costs. Our personnel are your neighbors- avocado farmers, retirees, mechanics, men and women 15-74 years of age. We are a very effective fire fighting force and we continue to improve with each passing day. Consider that we started off three years ago with 5 guys, a 1963 $200 Ford pickup truck loaded with a 100gallon ag-water tank. 100 feet of surplus fire hose and an old trash pump.
The six fire engines, one mile of hose, and the thousands of dollars of communications and fire/rescue gear were paid from community donations raised from letters like this one.
As we have seen in New York City, fire fighting is an extremely dangerous job. With 342 firefighters dead instantly, it makes me think twice about my own safety and the safety of my crew. I know I can not be lost for the sake of my wife and baby. Our protective gear that our firefighters are wearing is "throw away gear" from other volunteer fire departments in the County. We wear them simply because we did not have the money to buy new ones. They are worn, ripped, and stained. These items (nomax jackets, pants, gloves helmets and boots) cost about $1500 per firefighter. Our annual donation drive raises about $7,000 from the community, and this is just enough to pay for insurance, fuel, parts and repairs of our fire engines.
Last month, I was able to secure a $27,300 Grant Award from FEMA solely to be used to purchase new quality protective gear for our 18 personnel. This grant works by FEMA paying nine dollars for every one dollar we can raise. An example, a new fire helmet costs $110 from the equipment wholesaler. We only have to pay $11, while FEMA pays $99. This is a one-time opportunity for us. We will not get this grant again. 19,000 Fire Departments applied this Grant, only around 30 received the funds. We were lucky because we were said to be the most in need. Now it's up to the community to make it happen.
Please, If there was ever a time that we needed your money, it is now. I realize the economy is in bad shape. Any amount will help us with this grant. Maybe the price of that family dinner night at Sizzlers, or even the cost of a tank of gas, it will sure go a long ways nine times its value.
Look at it as an investment to you. 100 percent of your donation goes right back into your community to protect your home and family. Also, whatever you contribute, is entirely State and Federal Tax Deductible because we are a 501c3 tax-exempt organization. You will receive a receipt for this. None of your donation goes to pay personnel salaries and fees like many of the other so called charities do to cover their operating costs. Please help us help you....
Make any donation payable to the "De Luz Volunteer Fire Department".
Call or email me if you have any questions.
Finally, we are always looking for more firefighters to train with us and to man the engines. There are no age or sex restrictions. If you can drag a hose, open a fire hydrant or drive we can use you. Contact me.
Mike Manchor, Volunteer Chief
De Luz VFD 1-760-728-3300