In November of 1989, United Airlines donated $600,000 to the Siouxland Community Foundation to establish a trust fund for community grants and scholarships. The trust fund was in appreciation of Siouxland’s valiant rescue and recovery efforts during the aftermath of the July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232 crash at Sioux Gateway Airport.
Each year, two-thirds of the income generated from this endowed fund is distributed in equal amounts to Briar Cliff University, Morningside College, and Western Iowa Tech Community College to assist students pursuing an education in emergency rescue, nursing, medical care, counseling, social work, clergy, or law enforcement. The remaining one-third is awarded in grants to nonprofit organizations to enhance the ability of Siouxland communities to respond in emergency and disaster situations.
Since the first grants were awarded in 1990, a total of $695,020 has supported Siouxland nonprofit organizations and the three local colleges (for scholarships). This year’s award recipients along with $8,500 for each local college include:
- City of Anthon: $2,500 – Funding to install a new rotating warning siren system with battery backup and pagers so storm spotters and emergency services can activate the siren in an emergency. Currently have a very old siren on the roof of City Hall (a one story building) that does not provide city wide coverage in case of an emergency. New system can still operate if electricity goes out.
- Hawarden Volunteer Fire Department: $1,681 – Funds to purchase a rescue saw (to replace current 20 year old one) used to cut holes in roofs for ventilation and holes in walls/floors for access to trapped people. New saw will improve entry and extrication times of those in an emergency situation in Hawarden and surrounding communities.
- Mapleton Fire Department: $1,200 – Support toward equipping two new firemen with personal protective bunker gear when responding to a fire. Gear to include a coat, pants, suspenders, boots, helmet, gloves, and Nomex hood.
- Onawa Volunteer Fire Department: $1,800 – Funding for headsets and necessary accessories to tie into the current communication system on the truck. Department currently has only two headsets in the first responding engine, enabling only two firefighters to communicate effectively. The engine carries seven people, so five firefighters are unable to communicate with the officer in charge and are not able to hear instructions of an incident’s plan of attack. Funding will also help purchase a new nozzle for the brush truck.
- Sioux City Fire and Rescue: $2,500 – Support toward the purchase of a Stryker Stair‑Pro Chair with accessories to assist in patient transport in a narrow/confined area. Chair will reduce firefighter injuries and improve efficiency in rescue and evacuation operations as chair has front and rear handles, caster wheels, etc.
- Siouxland Paramedics, Inc.: $1,600 – Funding toward a 24-Hour Refresher Course for EMT’s and nurses in the tri-state area. Project is a collaborative effort between Siouxland Paramedics, St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center, and Western Iowa Tech Community College. Course will be conducted over three days and will allow participants to train together, develop and reinforce their knowledge base, and obtain the necessary CEU’s for recertification.
- Siouxland Underwater Search & Recovery: $1,900 – Volunteer underwater search & recovery group provides 24-hour a day assistance to all emergency service agencies in tri‑state area (11 counties) in the event of accidents, drownings, or searches for evidence in criminal investigations. Funding toward the purchase of 19 cu. ft. pony tanks with gas switching block hoses and gauges. The extra tanks will supply air to the primary diver until the backup diver can reach him/her and help get them to the surface.
TOTAL AWARDED: $38,681
The dollars from this trust fund are truly making a difference as stated in a thank you note from Chuck Hirsch, Fire Marshall, with the Sioux City Fire Department, “Thank you for the grant we received a few years back to purchase the ‘Rescue Alive’ ice sled. We used this sled to make a successful rescue of an individual that had gone into the Big Sioux River earlier this year. Without the ice sled, this outcome may have been different.”