by Logan Gruber
If 15-year-old Madelyn Adamski has anything to say about it, residents in and around Sauk Rapids will feel a lot safer when boating and playing in some of the more inaccessible areas nearby.
Adamski is raising funds to help the Sauk Rapids Fire Department purchase a new airboat.
“This is for the whole community . . . it’s for everyone,” Adamski said in a Sauk Rapids-Rice Newsleader interview.
Adamski approached the Sauk Rapids City Council to ask for permission to continue to raise funds, as well as to make any contributions toward the boat tax-deductible for donors.
“To have somebody from the community step up, that’s pretty impressive,” said Sauk Rapids City Administrator Ross Olson during the council meeting.
“Thank you for doing this for our community,” council member Ellen Thronson said.
“As a citizen I’m excited, but as a mayor I want to make sure we do it right,” added Mayor Brad Gunderson.
The mayor and fire board plan to discuss exactly how to accept the funds and allow donors’ contributions to be tax-deductible.
“We want to get a new boat so rescues are safer,” Adamski told the city council.
The boat she and the fire department want, an airboat, is a bit different than the motorboats the department has now.
An airboat, typically, has a much flatter bottom and a large fan in a metal cage on the back instead of a motor sticking out below the bottom of the boat. This allows an airboat to travel over swampy land, shallow water, ice, mud and even grass. Airboats allow for a lot more versatility during rescue operations and increase safety by getting rescuers closer to the victims during ice, swamp or shallow-water rescues.
The airboat would also hold about 12 people, while the current boats can only hold four.
Adamski, daughter of Shannon and Jason Adamski of Sauk Rapids, is in the 10th grade at the high school.
She spends a lot of time with firefighters though, at festival booths and other activities. Adamski says the fire department is like a family to her. So when she heard them talking about some recent calls they were on with their current boats and the issues they faced, she wanted to help.
According to the fire department, life-saving calls in which a boat are needed happen about 30 times per year.
“A lot of the time, we end up in shallower water than we’d like,” Jason said.
In documents Adamski submitted to the city council, she wrote the two older boats the fire department currently has were manufactured in 1980 and 2000, respectively. They are motor boats, which means they can only be used in water situations, and can carry only four people at a time.
After talking with her dad and the fire department, Adamski knew a new boat – an airboat – would cost between $35,000 and $50,000.
Adamski set out to prove she could raise the money and started a page on youcaring.com at the beginning of September.
“She’s already raised nearly $1,000,” Jason told the city council.
Adamski hasn’t been advertising the site much, outside of sharing it on her Facebook page.
To donate, you can head to youcaring.com and search for ‘Sauk Rapids.’