From educational opportunities to hostage rescue equipment to a regional rescue training facility, area schools and emergency agencies put funds donated by Didion Milling Foundation to work.
Back in April, Didion, located in Cambria, Wisconsin, distributed $100,000 to local fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and programs that serve area youth and families.
Didion Milling Foundation will continue to distribute funds after raising more than $123,000 at its 14th annual Strong Communities Golf Outing in September.
“It is humbling to hear how quickly the organizations put the funds into action and that they were able to make a tangible and significant impact in our communities,” said Riley Didion, Didion CEO. “The stories and continued need reinforce the call for all of us to do what we can to support our communities.”
Organizations put donations to work
Organizations receiving funds from Didion included Cambria, Pardeeville, Randolph, Friesland, Columbus, and Fall River Fire Departments, Columbia and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices, Habitat for Humanity, and Randolph and Pardeeville Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters.
- Columbus Fire Department used its funding to replace an old grain rescue device called “the Great Wall of Rescue” and purchase four new harnesses and rope rescue equipment. “Thank you for helping our department have the tools to protect and serve our community," said Scott Hazeltine, Columbus Fire Chief.
- Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department put the funds they received toward purchasing a camera system and building a hostage rescue training facility. “Didion probably has a better understanding of the needs of the community than most businesses,” said Paul Milbrath, Jefferson County Sheriff. “Didion could see how important it would be for us to have the new equipment and training if we have to respond to an active shooter situation. These deputies are going in to save kids’ lives.”
- Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reports they’ve used their donation to hold community events and purchase a drone and critical safety equipment for deputies. “Especially when county budgets are getting tougher and tighter, having community partners means we have access to tools and equipment that we would not otherwise have,” said Roger Brandner, Columbia County Sheriff. “It also allows us to build upon those positive relationships with our youth.”
- Friesland Fire Department used funds to purchase an ATV, which they used to help at both a combine fire and a cornfield fire this fall. “Receiving a donation from a local business is critical as a volunteer department with limited resources," said Josh Rimmert, Friesland fire chief. "Without the generosity of donations and fundraisers like Didion’s, we wouldn’t be able to purchase equipment that helps us serve our community.”
- Pardeeville High School FFA used the funds to purchase a hydroponics system. “Thanks to Didion’s financial support, our students are growing food in the classroom for our cafeteria,” said Amanda Seichter, Pardeeville High School Agri-Science instructor and FFA advisor. “Not only have I seen the young women in my classes show an increased interest in science, but we are also exposing all students to potential science and ag related fields by having access to technology and real-life implications in our classrooms.”
- Randolph FFA subsidized 11 students’ trips to the National FFA Washington Leadership Conference. “Without Didion’s donation, this trip would not have been possible,” said Lauren Frances, Randolph High School Ag Science teacher. “The cost per student was over $1,500, which is a huge amount for a high school student. But thanks to the generosity of Didion, there was a very minimal cost to the students. Attending the FFA Washington Leadership Conference is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am so glad my students could experience it.”