Gerald “Gerry” Bekken (1924-2021) keeps giving.
The late lifelong Douglas resident, a 27-year Saugatuck Township Fire District blaze jumper who spent 42 more years serving on its board, left peers an endowment to buy new gear.
Upon death, he designated a grant fund, coordinated by nephews Dave and Joe Bekken through the Holland/Zeeland Area Community Foundation, to be distributed over five years to those who saved lives after.
On Aug. 18, 2022, STFD received the $7,410 first installment. Payment two, $7,797, came in Aug. 15 this year.
Funds have been used to better equip new Engine 2110, a $685,000 2022 Spencer-Spartan make that pumps 2,000 gallons of water minute, 16,000 total before needing refill.
New gear includes:
• Hand tools including Halligans, axes, drywall hooks, extinguishers and DOT (Department of Transportation) extinguisher brackets;
• Gas-powered tools such as chainsaws and safety fuel can holders;
• Battery-operated tools for Milwaukee 18v Kit to include drill, impact, Sawzall and grinder;
• Milwaukee telescoping scene light and spare (shown in nearby photo).
What may sound like grown kids’ toys to some become safe, sophisticated gear needed to save lives, a realization firefighters hope come to fewer caught in vehicle wrecks, burning homes or trailers, who’ve lost power, even roofs due to storm or rot fallen trees …
“Thank you once again for your kindness and dedication to the Saugatuck Township Fire District,” said Chief Greg Janik, addressing Bekken and others living, who understand and support their efforts.
“We look forward to using these funds to enhance our capabilities,” Janik said.