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Farmington fire department gets big donations

The Farmington Fire Department Relief Association donated $10,000 toward the purchase of new radios Monday. The Fire Department Auxiliary also donated $10,000 toward the project.

Three big checks and a defibrillator exchanged hands at Monday’s Farmington City Council meeting, with the fire department taking home the lion’s share.

The council recognized the Farmington Firefighters Auxiliary Association and the Farmington Fire Department Relief Association for their separate donations of $10,000 each, which went to purchase portable radios for the department.

Both groups raise funds through community events to benefit the department.

Chief Jim Larsen said he had asked the auxiliary if they could raise at least $5,000 toward the radios.

“They surprised me by saying, ‘How about we give you $10,000?’” he said. “This donation provides a significant improvement to firefighter safety.”

The department also received an automatic external defibrillator from the Apple Valley Lakeville Farmington ambulance service. Kurt Weidner, operations manager for ALF, and Patty McCauley, external education coordinator for ALF, presented the equipment. The group has been working with the city to help it become a Heart Safe Community. The program is sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Minnesota Department of Health.

“We hope that with this donation it will help to better serve the community,” Weidner said.

Larsen said he’d put it on a truck immediately.

The final check, for $1,200, was presented to the city by John Gus Barger, a committee member of the Louis Schmitz Foundation, a non-profit organization. Schmitz was known for his unflagging support of youth sports in Farrmington, particularly hockey.

The money, raised during the group’s annual golf fundraiser, will purchase two memorial park benches to be placed by the Oak Street entrance to the Rambling River Center.

“We’re going to continue to give back to the community in his name,” Barger said.