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Mon, Oct. 14

Walker Fire receives stipend from nonprofit to diversify operations

This past week, the Walker Fire Protection Association received $7,631.91 from a nonprofit association to buy three complete sets of firefighter suits, which will help diversify operations for its 20-member volunteer firefighting crew.

The 100 Club of Arizona, which supports the families of police officers and firefighters across the state, awarded the money through its Safety Enhancement Stipend, or SES, program.

Walker, a rural, unincorporated community off Walker Road and Highway 69, was one of three SES recipients for the first quarter of 2009.

Walker Fire Protection Association, or WFPA, needs the suits so that more than a handful of its firefighters can become certified to fight structure fires.

"This is exciting for us," WFPA Acting Fire Chief Jill Maisonneuve said Tuesday. "We are mainly a wildland fire department and we want to go into fighting structure fires. In order to send three of our guys to (structure firefighting) school, they have to be outfitted to be accepted into the school."

SES gives public safety agencies money to buy equipment, training and programs to improve the safety and welfare of their first responders.

WFPA, a small volunteer fire department that typically receives contributions only from its residents, has had difficulty getting enough money to meet its budget requirements. The association also is not a member of a fire district, so it has no tax base.

"We'd love to have some more funds to send more of our firefighters to structure school," Maisonneuve said. "So we are going to need more equipment and updated radios."

Rachel St. Moritz, public relations official with the 100 Club, said that since Walker is not part of a district, it has had limited access to grant money.

The 100 Club's stipend will provide the association with much-needed suits for battling structure fires, as well as search and rescue fires that might occur in the Walker area.

Since its inception in 2004, the SES program has awarded more than $530,000 to public safety agencies throughout the state. The club reviews applications quarterly and gives awards based on need, demand and available money.

For more information about the program, log on to the Internet at or contact the club's office at 602-485-0100.

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