Mexican firefighters are thankful this holiday season for a retired firetruck and donated equipment received from Alberta.
The shiny yellow pumper truck had put in 25 years of fire fighting, but no longer met Canadian safety standards.
Upon hearing about the decommissioned vehicle, the Rotary Clubs of Olds and Mountain View County teamed up to have it donated so it could have a new life in Mexico.
Jim Crawford was one of the members who drove the truck all the way to Mazatlan — a city of around 800,000 people on the Western coast of central Mexico. "You can't believe how grateful they are to have these machines in their cities," said Crawford.
"They have four fire stations and there's one paid fire official and that's the chief. He looks after all four stations and everybody else is a 100 per cent volunteer."
Crawford adds that the rotary clubs donated uniforms — which otherwise are bought by volunteers — as well as hydraulic equipment known as the "jaws of life."
Crawford says the machinery was put into action right away and saved three lives after a car accident in the city.
"Some towns have a little tank truck with five gallon buckets on little hooks along the frame and that's how they put a fire out," he said.
"They have to look at something and make sure they can get the people out and then they just watch it burn. So when they get a truck like this they really, really look after it."
'A moving ceremony'
Mary Turner is also with the Olds Rotary Club and travelled to Mazatlan to hand over the keys to the vehicle.
Turner adds that it was a very moving ceremony and the firefighters were all appreciative for the donations.
"When the key ceremony happened, there were tears in the eyes of the volunteer fire department service men and women as they received this gift," said Turner.
"It's like a second life for the vehicle and it's such a blessing for the people of Mazatlan."
Turner says along with the fire truck, five other vehicles from their rotary district drove down in a convoy to Mexico and were donated elsewhere.
"There were two fire trucks, two handy buses, an ambulance and a school bus that all went down — then the vehicles went to different communities," she said.
The rotary member added that when the vehicles arrived in Mazatlan, the citizens greeted them with a parade.
"Everybody is honking their horns and high fives and big smiles because everyone in the city of Mazatlan knows that these are coming from Canada and from Alberta," she said.
"It's just amazing to think that a city of 800,000 did not have that kind of equipment that we take for granted in our communities. So it was a pretty incredible opportunity."