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St. Paul Fire District announced funds raised in memory of fallen firefighter Austin Smith

COURTESY PHOTO: ST. PAUL FIRE DISTRICT - St. Paul Rodeo Foundation President Kevin Smith presents a check for $74,890 to St. Paul Fire District Chief Bryan Lee.St. Paul Fire District announced July 20 that the St. Paul Rodeo Foundation presented the district with a check for $74,890, proceeds of a fundraiser in Memory of Volunteer Firefighter Austin Smith, who was tragically killed in the line of duty Feb. 3.

SPFD PIO, Cpt. Mark Daniel noted: "Austin was beloved member of the St. Paul Fire District, St. Paul Rodeo Family and the St. Paul Community."

Daniel said "The Pass The Hat Fundraiser Benefiting The St. Paul Fire Department" kicked off at the St. Paul Rodeo Trail Ride on June 3 and culminated on July 5. The St. Paul Rodeo Foundation collected donations until July 5, that have been designated to benefit the St. Paul Fire District in Austin Smith's Name.

"The Fire District is honored to receive these funds from our community to be used in Austin's name," SPFD Chief Bryan Lee said at the presentation. "This gift will go way beyond the original intent, by purchasing the tools we need and then some benefiting the entire community, Thank you!"

COURTESY PHOTO: ST. PAUL FIRE DISTRICT - A few of the tools to be donated to the St. Paul Fire District, made possible by a St. Paul Rodeo Foundation donation.

The foundation's goal was to raise $65,000 for purchasing an extrication tool set and to replace 40-year-old equipment that is no longer functional with current vehicles. The extrication tool set will include cutters, spreaders, air bags, and struts that will be easier to handle while cutting through high strength steel vehicles.

"All these tools will aid in the safety of our first responders as they rescue patients in life-threatening accidents," Daniel said.

"The St. Paul Fire Department is the community, and the community is the Fire Department" Daniel continued. "Members of the district's Firefighting and Medical Response Team live within the district. So, we as members of the district are truly neighbors, helping neighbors, and in many cases helping our own families through some of the toughest times and situations in their lives."

"These donations given in honor of Austin Smith to the Fire District will directly benefit everyone."

The foundation and fire district expressed thanks to all who contributed.

"We continue to be humbled by the support of our community and the St. Paul Fire District and are honored to make this donation," foundation President Kevin Smith said.

Officials specifically thanked businesses providing matching donations: Marion Ag Service, ERNST Irrigation and Tractor, Schneider Water Services and Agri-Seed Testing.

Other large donors include Hazenberg Dairy, Dave and Lisa Smith, and the Reser Family Foundation. Additionally live and silent auctions at the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame BBQ raised more than $19,000 for the effort.


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