By Hailey Palmer, Puyallup Tribal News
The generosity of the Puyallup Tribe and Charity Trust Board will soon be on display within the Key Peninsula Fire Department’s district.
After receiving a $50,000 grant from the Tribe in August, the fire department is now gearing up to put those funds to use with the purchase of a rescue boat.
A deposit has been placed on the boat, and the fire department is waiting for it to arrive and pass inspection.
Key Peninsula Fire Department Assistant Chief Chris Beswick said adding the rescue boat to its fleet will benefit everyone in the department’s service area.
“Our area – Key Peninsula – has about 70 miles of shoreline, and there is not a whole lot of water rescue resources around us,” Beswick said. “We have a couple of jet skis, but operating in the sound with a couple of jet skis isn’t always ideal. We were in need of something larger, not only to serve us but serve the surrounding communities.”
Beswick said the Key Peninsula Fire Department identified a pretty serious need for a boat due to a variety of factors. For example, a portion of his district is located on an island, meaning response teams had to rely on a private ferry to get them out there, which was sometimes a slow process.
“(The ferry) is also not necessarily always there, so this will give us the ability to respond out on that island without having to rely on that private ferry,” Beswick said.
The primary use of the boat will be for water rescue whether that’s for damaged or disabled boats or people who get in trouble while recreating in the area.
“It definitely enhances our response capability and our ability to provide services to an area,” Beswick said.
Once the boat is in the Key Peninsula Fire Department’s possession, the department plans to have the Tribe’s logo stenciled onto the side.
“We wanted to give credit where credit is due,” Beswick said. “We wanted to make sure we make it very clear where the money came for this. It will be prominently displayed on the boat.”
Beswick said the Key Peninsula Fire Department is excited for the partnership with the Tribe for this boat.
“It was a service we very much needed to provide and didn’t have the capability to do on our own,” he said. “Without the Tribe’s help we would not be able to do this.”