The Lexington Fire Department (LFD) donated a 2005 Ford Explorer to the Neon Volunteer Fire Department (NVFD) following the devastating floods in Eastern Kentucky earlier this year. The historic flooding that wreaked havoc on 13 counties and claimed more than 40 lives also left the NVFD short seven fire apparatus, which put a significant strain on its response efforts. The Kentucky League of Cities recognized their need, and Member Relations Manager, Terri Johnson, sent an email to other departments requesting vehicles to fill the voids. In her email, Johnson wrote, “So many needs are being met, but there are many more down the road. Thank you for your commitment to each other.”
“We’re thankful for the opportunity to help fellow Kentuckians,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “We sent our firefighters and public works teams to flooded counties in Eastern Kentucky. This is another opportunity to give back.”
The LFD had recently replaced several support vehicles and was preparing the older units for surplus when the request was made. It was determined that one of those SUVs was still in good condition, and plans were immediately started to donate the SUV to Neon. “Our mission as firefighters is to help people, and in this instance, we are able to help those who help others, which is very rewarding,” said Fire Chief Jason Wells. “Neon faces years of rebuilding and untold challenges. We are happy to help in this small way.”
Carter Bevins has served as the Neon Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief for the past 45 years. Chief Bevins recalled the horror of the first day, stating it was the worst flood they had ever experienced. “We have made a lot of progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Bevins said. “We are grateful for the SUV donation and will put it to immediate use.” Bevins advised the department’s biggest need at this point is a fire engine, as they lost two of theirs in the flood.
Neon sits approximately three hours southeast of Lexington near the Kentucky/Virginia border. NVFD has 39 firefighters, serves a population of 10,000, and averages 3,500 runs per year, providing both fire and EMS service. The Explorer will serve as their new Incident Command vehicle, as their previous command vehicle was a total loss.