Stillwater community comes together to fight COVID-19

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Wilson Chevrolet donated $10,000 to the Stillwater Fire Department on April 14 to help the department with its COVID-19 response. The donation is one of the latest and largest examples of the Stillwater community’s generosity.

A donation from Wilson Chevrolet to the Stillwater Fire Department is one of the latest and largest examples of the Stillwater community’s generosity.

On April 14, Wilson Chevrolet presented a $10,000 check to Deputy Marshall Steve Sylvester. Stillwater’s fire chief said the check was one of the largest donations the department has ever received.

“Those kinds of donations, whether they’re large or small, they’re just so appreciated by the members of the City of Stillwater,” Chief Tom Bradley said. “It’s just unreal as to how much people have reached out and provided those things.”

Bradley said funds from the donation will be used to purchase personal protective equipment to help keep firefighters safe during the COVID-19 crisis. He said if funds from the donation aren’t exhausted during the pandemic, the funds will be used to purchase other types of personal protective equipment.

Aaron Wilson, the owner of Wilson Chevrolet, said now is the time for everyone to do what they can to support their community.

“I mean, I think we’re all in this together, right?” Wilson said. “I think everybody needs to dig down deep and figure out really the things they feel called to do.”

Wilson said people should especially consider supporting businesses and organizations that they have regular interactions with.

“Stillwater could look very different in the next few months or next year,” Wilson said. “It could look very different than it did last month, or last semester.”

Large cash donations aren’t the only way community members have been helping city officials combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city has also been accepting donations of sewn masks and sanitizing products. The director of Stillwater’s Emergency Management Department, Rob Hill, said the community response to the call for cloth masks was rapid.

“We have enough that every employee has two cloth face masks, and at least one, if not two, procedural masks,” Hill said.

Hill said although the city had partnered with Prairie Wolf Distillery to provide sanitizing solution for employees, the credit for procuring cloth masks belongs entirely to the Stillwater community.

“Every cloth mask that we have is because of donation,” Hill said.

He said the emergency management department is still taking inventory to determine the number of cloth masks that have been donated.

Hill said although the city has enough masks and sanitizer for employees, donations of masks and sanitizing products are still being accepted. Even if the supplies are never used, the act of donating can still help the city financially.

Hill said the city can count the value of donations made by residents to help mitigate the crisis to be used towards Stillwater’s matching funds requirements to receive money from FEMA. He said FEMA funds come with an expectation for some level of matching funds from the receiving entity and donations from third parties can be counted as part of Stillwater’s contribution.

Hill said residents should leave their name and contact information, both so the city can properly thank them and so the donations can be tracked to qualify as matching funds for FEMA.

Residents who want to contribute to the city’s COVID-19 mitigation resources can drop off donations in the lobby of the police station, located at 701 S. Lewis St.

Those who wish to contribute directly to the fire department also have that option.

Chief Bradley said most donations received by the fire department go to funding educational campaigns for the public.

“We’re very grateful for what Wilson Chevrolet did for us, as well as all the other people that provide donations to the Stillwater Fire Department,” Bradley said.

He said donations are generally accepted in person at the fire station at 1510 S. Main St.

“We’d love to show you around the fire station, and talk to you, and answer any questions an individual might have about the services we deliver, and how we go about delivering those,” Bradley said.

Residents hoping to receive a tour of the facility after making their donation are encouraged to wait until the COVID-19 crisis has passed before planning their visit.