By Kelly Werthmann
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Summer is just around the corner – that means fun in the sun for most of us and the busiest time of year for Colorado’s rescue crews.
The all-volunteer Larimer County Dive Rescue Team is gearing up for the busy season. Their mission is to rescue or recover people and property involved in water related accidents, something they do several dozen times a year. They often assist other emergency response agencies in the region, and in order to do that they need a vehicle to transport their divers, equipment and boat to the emergency scene.
“Every piece of life saving equipment we use is on the truck,” said Bruce Lobmeyer, who has volunteered with the crew for 15 years.
The team’s current truck is almost 20 years old and in desperate need of replacement. When the team of volunteer rescuers got a call earlier this year for a water rescue, the truck they call “Old Faithful” wouldn’t start. Thankfully, they were able to load gear into personal vehicles and a truck that can haul the crew’s boat, but it’s not an ideal solution.
“It’s not safe for us and it’s certainly not beneficial to the people we’re going out to rescue,” team member Matt Jackson said.
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“We don’t have a bunch of reserve trucks sitting around,” Lobmeyer told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “This is our only truck. The county which helps us maintain it is having to fix it a lot, and that’s costing the taxpayer and it’s costing us time.”
So, the all-volunteer team is hoping to raise some money to replace the aging truck. A replacement — complete with the necessary lights, sirens and radios — will cost about $60,000. Lobmeyer said higher-end trucks cost about $150,000.
“We get a small stipend from the county to help pay for some of our expenses,” he said. “We get $5,000 for that, the rest comes from volunteers or donations from people.”
The team set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $10,000 to help cover some of the costs.
“We’d love to get a new truck to help more people,” Jackson said.
Larimer County’s response area is just about 2,700 square miles – including 21,000 acres of water and more than 350 miles of river, like the Cache La Poudre and Big Thompson.
“With a base population around 216,000 near these waters,” the GoFundMe page reads, “it greatly increases the likelihood of water related accidents. Couple these statistics with the other factors of kayakers, rafters and commercial rafting companies that come to enjoy the rivers from around the state and you quickly begin to see the opportunity for accidents increases.”
Flood dangers also increase the needs for emergency response agencies, and LCDRT works hard to meet those needs. They hope the community they serve and surrounding areas will help meet their need of a new truck.
– Help Larimer County Dive Rescue GoFundMe
– Send Checks to:
Larimer County Dive Rescue Team
1303 N. Shields St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
– Volunteer Opportunities: lcdrt.org/join-the-team/
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.