ABBOTT (August 24, 2013) - The Abbott Volunteer Fire Department was devastated by the fertilizer plant explosion last April, but some firefighting friends from a thousand miles away are now helping them rebuild.
It was a big gift from a small town fire department in Michigan.
"It is not just a trip, it is a journey," Ada Fire Lieutenant David Murray said. "This is something we are going to remember forever."
Members of the Ada, Mich., Fire Department drove nearly 1,200 miles to Abbott Saturday to donate their gently used fire truck.
Abbott firefighters Cyrus Reed and Jerry Chapman were killed in the explosion.
The department also lost a fire truck.
After hearing about the devastation in West, Murray said he asked his supervisors if Ada could donate a truck that was going to be taken out of service anyways to Abbott.
Murray's supervisors agreed as long as the department paid for their own gas, they raised money through fund raisers and t-shirt sales.
"They babied this truck," West EMS Director Tom Marek said. "It has 24,000 miles on it. Even though it is a 1993, it is in great shape and we can put it in service Sunday."
"They brought it to us basically ready to roll," Abbott Fire Chief Bradley Matthys said.
Michigan may be across the country from Abbott but among firefighters there is an understanding of coming together in a time of loss.
"It is a rebuilding process," Marek said. "This is going to help the town of Abbott. We lost an engine so it gives us high hopes of being able to still continue to protect everybody and serve the community."
The Ada Fire Department also donated $10,000 to the Abbott VFD and $2,500 to West EMS.