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February 4, 2017
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On the beautiful, crisp Saturday morning of January 28, little children, youngsters, moms, pops, older folk, and more met at the Cedar Key Fire House to celebrate the Cedar Key Fire Department, its volunteers, and chief and learn about its newly awarded equipment.  The onlookers enjoyed coffee, hot chocolate, pound cake, and donuts as they listened to Cedar Key Fire Department Fire Chief Robert Robinson explain the unfolding event. 
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With Robinson were his seven volunteer firepersons:  James McCain, Keen Daniels, Kenny McCain, Jamie McCain, Tony Pavao, Matthew Adams, and John Andrek.  The Levy County Fire Department’s Katy Yarok and Harry Sparks were in attendance as well.
Robinson explained the gathering’s two purposes.  The first goal was to expressly thank Firehouse Subs for awarding $30,037 worth of Hurst extrication equipment which includes a Hurst cutter, spreader, ram, and the necessary batteries and chargers required for use.  In addition, the award included a Hurst eDraulic bank charger, power supply, and three mounting brackets. 

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This equipment replaces the older, louder, dirtier and less powerful equipment which has been used since 1985, for some three decades plus.  A grateful Chief Robinson displayed the old and the new equipment for onlookers to compare the differences.
Chief Robinson explained earlier that “this award will allow for faster and safer rescues involving vehicle entrapment.  Due to the fact that today’s vehicles are built to withstand more than ever before, the newer extrication equipment has become a necessity to be able to power through the tougher construction in the event of a rescue.”
The second goal of the day was to teach the Cedar Key Fire Department persons to use the new equipment.  Guided by 27-year fireman veteran Tom Minklin, now a Hurst equipment instructor and emergency specialist, and 40-year veteran in the field John McDonald, the eight firemen attacked a 1989 white Subaru Legacy that had been in an accident. 
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And attack it they did.  James McCain, Matthew Adams, Kenny McCain, Ken Daniels, Tony Pavao, Kenny McCain, and John Andrek took turns with the spreader, the cutter, and the ram, methodically removing the two doors and the hatchback.  Levy County Emergency Management Services Katy Yanok and Harry Sparks learned as well.
Appreciative and earnest applause was heard from the crowd for the volunteers, Firehouse Subs, for Minklin and McDonald, and for Chief Robinson.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Firehouse Subs co-founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi where they fed first responders and survivors. As they traveled back to Florida exhausted and exhilarated, they knew they could do more and the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was born with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment, and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Since inception, the non-profit organization has given more than $24 million to hometown heroes in 46 states plus Puerto Rico and Canada.”