Fire district establishes assistance fund for displaced
A memorial fund established by the Canby Fire District (CFD) to help families and individuals displaced by a residential fire, or who have an immediate need, has received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation.
The Dr. Richard Davies First Responder Fund is named in honor of Dr. Davies, a long-time Canby physician who spent 38 years serving as CFD's physician advisor and whose father founded the Davies Clinic in 1957.
The memorial fund uses donations provided to the Canby Fire District from people it has assisted, others who simply wish to contribute funding, and Canby-area churches. Canby police officers, fire fighters and EMS responders have debit cards they use to access memorial fund money to purchase items for those in need — clothing, a meal, and other basic necessities, or even to help someone out who is stranded on the side of the road.
"However, an important thing for people to remember is we will not give out cash to anybody," Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis said. "If someone has an immediate need, the fire captain, police sergeants, and police and fire chiefs will have a (debit) card they can use to take that person to a restaurant to pay for a meal, to get a coat, to pay for an immediate need for their kids, or basic necessities they really, really need. For long-term needs we refer them to The Canby Center."
The memorial fund's board of directors will consist of Davis, Canby Police Chief Bret Smith, Canby Center Executive Director Ray Keen, and CFD Chief Financial Officer Lori Fawcett will serve as the secretary-treasurer.
Davis said the fund already received its first donation from a Canby-area church, and currently has a balance of about $12,000.
The fund in action
Davis provided an example of how the Dr. Davies memorial fund helped Canby residents get through some tough times.
He said that last year, there was an apartment fire that was extinguished by the building's sprinkler system but the fire still damaged the belongings of the family who lived in the unit where the fire started. They were in a situation where they had to choose between paying rent for an apartment or purchasing new clothes and furnishings.
"We decided to go ahead and use money from the fund to help them out so their kids could have new clothes," Davis said.
Canby Fire originally established a Chaplain's Fund but it was very limited in scope because it didn't pass the state auditor's requirements, as far as expenditures and audits were concerned, and the fire district wanted to ensure it passed the test for all legal requirements, Davis said.
Canby City Councilor Tyler Smith, owner of Canby-based Rural Business Attorneys and council liaison to CFD, volunteered to write and submit the application for the Dr. Richard Davies First Responder Fund to receive its nonprofit designation.
"They started the process on their own and we helped out," Smith said. "We re-wrote the bylaws to follow proper nonprofit formalities, and helped organize its structure and plan the structure for (its board of directors)."
Davis wrote a letter of appreciation to the Canby City Council, praising Smith for his time and efforts, which was read out loud at the June 7 city council meeting.