Wahoo, Neb., family use Monsanto program to aid fire department

Farm Forum

CERESCO, Neb. (AP) – A Saunders County, Neb., farm family is helping make possible a water rescue shed at Lake Wanahoo and new fire and rescue equipment at Ceresco, Neb.

Charles and Glenda Jonas of rural Wahoo will donate $2,500 each to the Wahoo Volunteer Fire Department and the Ceresco Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department through Monsanto’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities program.

The program gives farmers the opportunity to direct $2,500 to their favorite local nonprofit organization. Producers in counties that have been declared disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to drought are eligible for two $2,500 donations.

The Fremont Tribune reports the Jonas family and a Monsanto representative planned to present the donations to representatives of the Wahoo and Ceresco departments at the Ceresco Community Center.

“We felt that the fire departments help everybody,” Glenda Jonas said. “They go out of their way and they don’t get paid for helping people and putting out fires. We just felt like the fire departments were a good choice.”

Firefighters from Wahoo and Ceresco, she said, have been there when her immediate and extended family has needed them.

“Wahoo and Ceresco both seem to work together really well,” she said.

“We’re going to use it for our water rescue building that we’re putting up at Lake Wanahoo,” Wahoo Fire Chief Corey Wagner said.

The building will enable his department to preposition equipment where it is needed most.

The fire department is raising money itself to fund the estimated $10,000 to $12,000 project. Wagner hopes to start construction this spring.

Wagner said he was unaware the Jonas family was applying for the money until he was informed of the donation.

“It’s awesome to have that. It was a very nice surprise,” he said.

Ceresco Fire Chief Justin Maxson said his department hasn’t yet met to determine specifically how it will use the money, “but obviously it’s going to get invested in some more firefighting equipment.”

New vehicle extrication equipment is a likely area of need, he said.

“For the newer cars that are coming out with all the new technology and the steel strength, the tools need to be updated and that’s more than likely what it would be put towards,” Maxson said.

Maxson said his department “is pretty fortunate” to have been selected by the Jonas family.

“Any donation is a great deal, it helps us out,” he said, “but something like this is pretty big for us as a small department. Obviously it helps us out financially, and we’re able to give back to our community and the people that we serve with better up-to-date equipment.”

Monsanto launched the America’s Farmers Grow Communities in 2010. One winner is selected in each of 1,271 eligible counties in 39 states. Winners are randomly selected.

The Monsanto Fund will invest more than $5 million to local nonprofits this year.

Other area winners in 2013 include Scott Knobbe of West Point, who directed donations to Guardian Angels Central Catholic School and St. Paul Lutheran School; Kenneth Scholl of Fremont, benefitting the North Bend FFA program and Archbishop Bergan Elementary School; Larry Nielson of Hooper, benefitting the Blair High School FFA program and the Sponsored Youth Christian Hang Ou organization; and Roger and Patty Moderow of Lyons, who directed donations to the Oakland-Craig Public Schools Foundation and the Burt County Fair Foundation.