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Bucket Brigade pitches in
11.21 bucket brigade
Russ McCollister, mill manager at Georgia-Pacific’s Savannah River Mill, Guyton Mayor Michael Garvin, Fire Chief David Starling and firefighters Tom Cook, Jack Gordon and Matt Cosgrove show off one of the G-P Bucket Brigade grants. - photo by Photo by Angela Mensing

Guyton’s volunteer fire department received one of 23 Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grants on Wednesday. The department will use the $5,000 grant to purchase automated external defibrillators for their fire trucks, which will enable them to quickly respond to cardiac conditions.

More than 60 fire departments throughout the nation applied for funds this year, the third year that Georgia-Pacific has offered the Bucket Brigade.

“We appreciate the important role of local fire and emergency teams in our community and our partnership with those teams,” Russ McCollister, mill manager at GP’s Savannah River Mill said.

An independent board of civilians and firefighters choose applicants based on certain factors.

“The criteria for applicants includes how the grant will materially improve the effectiveness of a unit and/or the safety of the firefighters, and how it will increase the unit’s ability to serve the community,” said Carrie Thompson, public affairs and communications manager for GP.

Guyton’s volunteer fire department has been in operation for 50 years and continues to pursue expansion. They have 14 volunteer firefighters and four additional first responders, and with the new public safety department created, police chief and interim city manager Randy Alexander expects the division to grow.

They plan to hold recruitment sessions at least quarterly, said Alexander.

“I’d like to see at least two new people show interest,” he said. It’s not for everyone, fire chief David Starling explained. Apparently some will sign up and decide it’s not for them.

Either way, the fire department is growing and more firefighters are becoming trained first responders. In fact, another group will become officially certified next week. And with the Bucket Brigade grant in hand, Guyton’s volunteer fire department stands ready to assist even more of their citizens.

In the past three years, GP’s Bucket Brigade initiative has contributed more than $300,000 to help rural and small town fire units with equipment and essential training.

“Small town and volunteer fire and rescue departments provide the majority of the emergency services coverage in our country,” said Jim Hannan, GP’s CEO and president.

Applications for the 2009 program will be available in May. For more information, email