By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
KAW CITY — The Bear Creek Fire District (BCFD) works hard to protect residents in the Kaw City area, and after receiving a big financial boost from Masonic Lodge Number 88, they are able to increase response time for getting victims to aid.
Masonic Lodge Number 88, located in Newkirk, decided to aid the department with a $5,006 donation, which went to help provide equipment, including uniforms, as well as a new heliport, which will allow air evacuation helicopters to land in emergencies.
“This pad will be in memory of Mason member Neil Doctorman, and will be named ‘Doc’s Landing,’” said Ernie Engelking, chairperson of the Board of Directors.
BCFD is one of four rural fire department that is supported by the Masons, along with Kildare, Peckham and Dale fire departments. It is part of charitable activities performed by the Masons.
“We have a Masonic Lodge charitable fund to benefit groups,” Lodge member Rusty Randol said. “We have a certain amount of funds each year we can donate to volunteer fire departments, schools and other charitable organizations.”
The Masons benefit the fire departments so they don’t have to pull the funds out of their own accounts.
“There are a lot of volunteer departments, and they generally work off donations,” Randol said.
The BCFD was organized in 2012. Construction of the station began in 2014, with a dedication in 2015.
The Fire Department is grateful for the donation.
“On behalf of the entire Bear Creek Fire District residents, Board of Directors and firefighters, we want to thank the Masons Lodge Number 88 for their generous donation,” Engelking said. “Working together, the Masons and (Bear Creek) Fire Department are building a viable fire department to serve residents in our fire district.”