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Philanthropic utility foundation awards grant to Ohio water rescue team

The NOPEC Foundation awarded a $39,500 grant to the Ashtabula County Water Rescue Team

By Warren Dillaway
Star Beacon

SAYBROOK, Ohio — Area governments and fire departments gathered on Tuesday morning to celebrate a NOPEC grant that allowed the Ashtabula County Water Rescue Team to purchase 20 dry suits to facilitate their work.

The event took place at Saybrook Fire Department and included representatives from the water rescue team from throughout the county, the Ashtabula County Commissioners and other government entities.

ACWRT Vice Commander Mark Vosburg showed a video detailing the equipment and its usage for those gathered for a luncheon at the fire hall.

Saybrook Fire Chief John Jyruovat said NOPEC has helped fund close to $80,000 in energy efficiency-related items at the firehouses during the last 15 years.

The most recent grant, a matching $39,500 grant, comes from the NOPEC Foundation which has a wider discretion to provide grants to non-profits in Ohio, said Aaron Marcovy, director of Community Investment & Economic Development. He said the foundation began distributing grants in the last year and about a half dozen have been given.

The grant was a, one-to-one matching grant, with the applying entity having to find a way to match the requested funds. The Ashtabula County Commissioners offered to match the dollar grant and the gear was researched.

The grant application came around the time that the U.S. Coast Guard announced the reduced presence at the Ashtabula Station. “The new gear was more important than ever,” according to a release provided by the water rescue team.

Ashtabula County Commissioner Casey Kozlowski said the commissioners were excited about matching the grant to help the water rescue team with the U.S. Coast Guard lowering its presence in the area.

Vosburg said the water rescue team can’t replace the U.S. Coast Guard but is working to do the best they can. He said they were also able to save money on the dry suits and get 20 instead of 12 that have been distributed to all the departments involved.

He said the team rescued 13 people and recovered five bodies from area bodies of water last year. The incidents occurred at numerous points across the Lake Erie shoreline, in area ponds and rivers.

Genevieve Costanza, Ashtabula County relations manager, said the company was happy to help the rescue team.

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