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Enbridge donation helps fire departments, students

Enbridge employees and members of local emergency response organizations gather in the parking lot of the Enbridge offices at 1320 Grand Ave. Wednesday near fleet vehicles being retired by the energy company. The Chevy Silverado extended cab trucks were donated to the Lakeside, Brule and town of Superior volunteer fire departments and the Spartan Mentoring program, for $1 each. Maria Lockwood

Keys and dollar bills changed hands in the Enbridge parking lot Wednesday.

Four of the energy company's retired fleet vehicles were donated to Douglas County fire departments and a Superior High School mentoring program, for $1 apiece.

"Our long-term goal is to turn it into a brush truck," said Lakeside Fire Chief Nova Nordrum of the donated 2008 Chevy Silverado extended cab. "Initially, we're going to use it to haul a four-wheeler and a canoe that we need to be able to transport."

The sleek white vehicle, once used for pipeline maintenance, will replace the Lakeside Volunteer Fire Department's current 1985 brush truck.

A 2009 Silverado from Enbridge will be parked in Oliver by the town of Superior Volunteer Fire Department for use as a brush and rescue truck.

"We have an old ambulance that we got through Gold Cross," said town of Superior Fire Chief Darryl Fiegle. "This would be much easier to use. It's four-wheel drive, so it allows us more access to places than the other one, too."

The Brule Volunteer Fire Department will use its donated 2010 extended cab Silverado as an emergency response vehicle.

"It will enhance our winter-time operations," said Brule Fire Chief Keith Kesler, because it's a four-wheel drive. With five seats, it can also be used to transport firefighters to authorized training sessions.

"I think it's great that they help us out," Kesler said of the Enbridge donation. "We would not have been able to purchase this truck."

Although it only cost $1 to purchase, the department will have to spend some money to outfit the truck.

Superior Police Officer Brad Esler was impressed with the 2009 Silverado donated to the Spartan Mentoring Program, which coordinates the annual Spartan Hot Rod project.

"Beautiful truck," he said.

This year's six Spartan Hot Rod students are putting the finishing touches on a right hand drive postal Jeep that was donated by the city of Superior last year. The mentoring program matches students with area automotive professionals.

"We have two projects going on, technically three projects," said Esler, who's been involved in the program since it began five years ago. "The Jeep was restored with three students at Len's Auto Body. Then at Johnny's Auto Body, one of our new mentors, they scratch-built a matching off-road trailer, and they restored a 1970s Honda Trail 70 mini-bike to go on back."

The finished project will be sold as a lot at the annual Kars at the Kitchen show May 21.

Next year's students may get the chance to modify the donated Silverado. For more information on the program, visit the Spartan Hot Rod Facebook page.

Whenever Enbridge has trucks to replace, keys change hands.

"It's not a regular thing, but when we have them we donate them to local response groups or nonprofits," said Enbridge spokeswoman Becky Haase. "We really want to support our local emergency responders and community. Part of our priority of being a good neighbor is giving back and being the solution when nonprofits and folks need resources."

To sign up for a donated vehicle, visit www.enbridge.com and search "apply for funding."

"Emergency responders, they're the first ones to get picked," Haase said. "They have to be near our lines, likely to respond in the event of an Enbridge need."

There are about 40 agencies on the list currently.

"We were excited that we came up this soon because I think we've only been on the list a year or two," Nordrum said.

Two more trucks are set to be donated in the Northland in the next few weeks, according to Eric Mack, communications coordinator with Enbridge.

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