With the successful delivery of the Carazo Firetruck today, this project can officially be classified as a resounding success.
The day started off with goodbyes to the staff and our friends at Monty’s Beach Lodge as we boarded 2 minibuses for the 3 hour drive to Carazo. The drive consisted of dropping off and picking up several passengers and was fairly uneventful until the blown radiator on one of the minibuses. Our 2 vehicles pulled over on the side of the steep highway and everyone piled out. Our major problem was we were still about 45 minutes from Carazo were the fire truck presentation, the Fire Chiefs and Dignitaries were waiting for us. The event was scheduled to start in 5 minutes and we still needed to get luggage and 20 passengers to our destination in a 10 passenger bus.
As in typical Nicaraguan fashion, problems quickly dissipate and solutions appear. 14 people piled into the 10 passenger van, and 5 others jumped into the cargo bed of a passing pickup truck. This still left our host Gerry stuck with the broken down van and luggage for 20 people. So of course the natural solution was to call the Carazo Fire Department. A pumper was immediately dispatched with lights and sirens. The firefighters picked up the luggage and Gerry on the side of the highway, then returned to the reception with sirens blazing. I guess that is the Nicaraguan version of BCAA.
Once at the Carazo Fire Station the presentation of the Calgary Fire Department truck, donated in the honour of Ken Husch would begin.
First I must provide some background information on the Calgary Fire Department and Husch Family donation.
Several years ago Ken Husch, one of Calgary Fire Departments most respected members, retired from the fire service to sail the globe with his wife Faye. For 3 years they experienced numerous countries and fell in love with the culture and people of Nicaragua. Ken and Faye toured several fire departments in Nicaragua and vowed they would help. Soon after Ken had a heart attack in Granada and passed away shortly after.
At the memorial service for Ken, the Calgary Fire Department promised to help make Ken and Faye’s promise a reality by donating a bush buggy truck to Nicaragua.
After years of planning and logistics the truck had finally arrived at its intended destination.
Now back to the service in Carazo…
Commandante Garcia of the Carazo Fire Dept. opened the ceremony with some words of welcome and told us that in the few weeks the truck has been in Carazo, it had responded to 73 emergencies.
Next, Faye took the podium with her daughter Alanna, and her son Rob seated beside holding a framed photo of their Father. Faye presented the most moving speech imaginable. There was not a dry eye in the entire room of politicians, firefighters and volunteers. After the room was able to gain its composure the entire Canadian contingent proceeded down to the apparatus bay and 2 fire tricks were pulled out. Commandante Garcia of Carazo invited the Husch Family, Silvie, Virginia and Andrea to ride on Kens Firetruck. The rest of the team boarded the pumper truck tailboard, sideboards and roof, then toured the city with lights and sirens blazing. After the 20 minute tour the trucks returned to the station. Almost as if it were a sign of approval, the second the Husch Family stepped off the Firetruck the tones rang to call Kens truck into service. The timing of that call was nothing short of perfection.
The Operation Nicaragua Team extends a sincere thank you to Maria from the Leon Fire Dept. for her amazing translation service for Faye’s speech.
Thank you to the Calgary Fire Dept. for making Kens wish a reality.
Thank you for support