RIVER FALLS — River Falls Fire Department received a special donation from a Kenosha man after his granddaughter Marra Dietsche married River Falls firefighter Greg Dietsche.
Over $9,000 was donated by Charles Heide which was used to purchase a combination extrication tool, something that would have made Dietsche’s time-sensitive duties easier at a recent I-94 traffic accident Oct. 23 which required one woman to be airlifted.
The day after the accident, the department received the phone call from Heide about the donation.
Scott Nelson, River Falls fire chief, said this is the largest donation he has seen in his nine years with the department.
The combination tool, also called the “Jaws of Life,” affords firefighters more versatility in rescue efforts to efficiently spread and cut metal to remove people from crushed cars or in other scenarios.
Heide appeared via Skype video to give a short speech about his donation before an Oct. 28 department training.
“Through the years, I have made contributions but never knew where the money went,” Heide said. “This gives me great satisfaction to know my donation went to the supplier of equipment. I hope it (the equipment) won’t be needed frequently. Thanks for the opportunity to help.”
The Dietsches tied the knot in June 2018 and currently live in River Falls. Greg has been a firefighter for nearly two years.
Heide said he is thrilled to have his granddaughter married to Greg, which appears to be an ideal relationship.
“They have proven to be very happy together,” Heide said.