Morgan Olson — a manufacturer of side-step vans in Ringgold — has donated a utility vehicle valued at about $175,000 to help volunteer agencies throughout the Dan River Region.
On Wednesday morning, Chris Slemp, director of Pittsylvania County Public Safety, received keys to the van painted fire-engine red. The vehicle allows for mobile refilling of air tanks and is equipped to rehab first responders during an emergency, according to a news release.
“Morgan Olson believes in giving to the communities in which we do business”, Mike Ownbey, Morgan Olson’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
There are about 600 people employed at the 925,000-square-foot Ringgold facility that opened about a year ago, and the company is still hiring for positions.
“Morgan Olson step vans are essential delivery vehicles that provide food, water and medical supplies to everyone across North America,” Ownbey said.
Ernie McDonald, senior director of Morgan Olson, was eager to help after he learned a previous air pumping truck had been decommissioned in 2019.
“According to the Fire Marshal, about 400 volunteer firefighters help protect Pittsylvania County, and many of them arrive at a scene in their personally owned vehicle, without an air tank,” he said in a release. “The air pumping truck is a critical tool in the safety of our volunteer firefighters, and I’m extremely proud we’re able to donate such an important piece of firefighting equipment.”
The public safety department was created in 2019 and is responsible for all emergency management and response in Pittsylvania County, the release stated.
“Having a mobile unit that can fill the air tanks will allow us to better support our volunteer fire departments during large fires and could even be an asset to the City of Danville Fire Department and other neighboring localities in a large-scale emergency,” Slemp said in the statement.