Annual donation from Basin Electric helps Gettysburg Fire and Rescue provide vital services to its community

Gettysburg-FD-donation

Jeff Goebel, left, chief of Gettysburg Fire and Rescue and Basin Electric lineman and volunteer firefighter Kyle Kusser with the $500 donation given by Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program.

Journeyman lineman and volunteer firefighter Kyle Kusser is passionate about serving. Growing up in Highmore, SD, Kusser’s dad and uncles all volunteered on the local fire department and served as EMTs, doing their parts to keep the town and its residents safe. Now that he has “dropped anchor” in the community of Gettysburg, SD, just 60 miles west of his hometown, Kusser feels it’s his civic duty to follow in their footsteps. He is very passionate about serving in this capacity, doing his part to make sure Gettysburg Fire and Rescue has what it needs to provide this vital service.

Since 2010, Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program has given $500 annual donations to the fire departments that serve its facilities, bringing nearly $15,000 to fire departments across its service area, many of which are small departments operated by volunteers and on extremely limited budgets. Since Gettysburg Fire and Rescue serves the Transmission System Maintenance facility in Gettysburg, it is on that list to receive this donation.

“Being a small, rural, volunteer fire department, we rely heavily on the generosity of others, so these types of donations are very appreciated,” Kusser says. Gettysburg Fire and Rescue not only serves the city of Gettysburg, but also several surrounding rural areas and the Cheyenne River Reservation.

Before Basin Electric’s donation came in this year, the department was in the process of buying bunker gear (the outer layer of a firefighter’s uniform) for each of its firefighters, and the donation came in just in time to purchase the final two sets.

In the next few years, Kusser says Gettysburg Fire and Rescue is coming up on some pretty substantial expenses, one of which is the possible expansion of the fire hall, which is shared with the city’s ambulances and is “packed pretty tight.”

Several of the fire department’s trucks are also in need of replacement, including its grassland fire truck, tanker truck, and rescue truck, an old ambulance that holds the Jaws of Life and other rescue equipment. “We’ve been having issues with our rescue truck for a while now,” Kusser says. “It’s a terrible feeling when you get called to a rollover at 2 a.m., and the rescue vehicle won’t start. Our fire department is at a point in its life where it needs improvements, and the $500 we receive from Basin Electric each year is a big help in with those improvements, as well as helping with the general upkeep of our building and equipment.”

Jennifer Holen, administrator of Basin Electric’s Charitable Giving Program says, “We love being able to provide this small token of appreciation to the fire departments that serve our facilities. Having them there and ready to respond to a potential emergency, whether at our facilities or the homes of the employees who work there is an invaluable service. We hope to be able to continue with these donations for many years to come.”

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