Fundraising letter has a new look

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By John Barnhart

The Bedford Volunteer Fire Department's annual fundraising letter will have a new look this year.

According to Tom Richardson, the fire department's treasurer, the department had the letter redesigned to make it more eye-catching. One of its features is the department's new ladder truck, which went into service in January.

The new truck, like the previous ladder truck, has a tractor-trailer arrangement. The driver steers the rig and is assisted by a tiller man, who sits in the back of the trailer portion and helps steer the trailer. Both have headphones and are in communication with each other. This adds maneuverability. The truck has a 100-foot ladder.

It's a Seagrave, the same brand as the previous ladder truck, and the same brand as the firetruck the department purchased in 1927. That one, the department's first that was specifically built as a fire truck, is currently on display at the Welcome Center and still takes to city streets for parades and special occasions.

The city of Bedford bought the new truck, but Richardson said that the fire department had to pay for an additional $30,000 worth of equipment that it needed on it. The department is also still paying for its rescue truck. This truck carries rescue equipment to a fire or traffic accident. It's equipped with the tools needed to cut a crash victim out of a twisted wreck, or cut an access to a burning building. It also carries an air supply to refill firefighters' air bottles.

"If you have a big fire, it takes a lot of air," Richardson commented.

Richardson expects the letter to reach people's mailboxes this weekend.

The Bedford Volunteer Fire Department covers the city of Bedford and areas in the county reaching up to 10 miles from the city limits. Like all the Bedford area's volunteer fire companies, it receives some government support, but depends heavily on fundraising efforts such as this mailing. Last year, according to Richardson, the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department responded to 900 calls.

Richardson noted that the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary is also conducting its own fundraising drive at this time.