ITHACA, Mich. (WJRT) – When 14-year-old Zoey Harrison found our her local fire department didn’t have the grain bin entrapment equipment used for rescuing farmers, she knew she wanted to help them get it. But, she never imagined she’d raise this much.
“My goal was only $4,000 and I raised over $10,000,” said Harrison.
Harrison was recovering from a surgery when she saw the equipment used to rescue someone trapped in a grain bin on television. She called her local fire department to see if they had one.
“They didn’t have it,” said Harrison. “They applied for grants 2 times and were denied. So that’s how I started because I wanted to help the fire department get their equipment they need to save lives.”
Chief David Nelson with the Gratiot Emergency Services Authority says he was touched by Harrison’s offer. Still, he thought it might be a little ambitious.
“I thought it was a challenge,” said Nelson. “I figured she’d raise a couple thousand dollars and that would be it.”
Harrison visited local businesses to ask for donations, and gave a pie to everyone who donated over 80 dollars. She baked 44 pies in total.
One business in particular surprised her by donating the exact amount she was asking for.
“I pitched my idea to someone at McDonald’s and then I went with my friend and I sat down to get some food,” described Harrison. “A manager came out to me and said that they heard my idea and they would like to help and donate one of the sets for free.”
The $4,000 donation from McDonald’s allowed the fire department to purchase 2 sets of the equipment. Harrison says she’s happy they could get them before a tragedy occurs.
“My dad told me that it usually starts as a tragedy and we have to wait for someone to die first to get this equipment,” said Harrison. “But why should we wait if we can raise it now.”
Chief Nelson says they expect to have the equipment in the next 6 to 8 weeks.