First annual ‘Round Up at the Ranch’ slated for July

  • A 9 Bravo volunteer fights a brush fire at Keamuku Maneuver Area at Pohakuloa Training Area in February. COURTESY PHOTO
    A 9 Bravo volunteer fights a brush fire at Keamuku Maneuver Area at Pohakuloa Training Area in February. COURTESY PHOTO

WAIKII RANCH — The date for the first annual Roundup At The Ranch, to be held at the Waikii Ranch Clubhouse, has been confirmed for July 15. Proceeds will help the Daniel R. Sayre Foundation support The Hawaii County Fire Department, including volunteer fire company 9 Bravo.

The Hawaii County Fire Department is a well-trained and managed force whose mission is to protect life and property on the island. While the regular crews are capable and quick to respond to emergencies, the size of the island requires more resources to complete the work. For this reason the volunteer fire companies are important.

In North Hawaii, the Hawaii County Fire Department has five permanent fire stations. These facilities are staffed continuously, and are called upon as soon as an emergency occurs. But they can’t be everywhere. Hawaii County Fire Department Stations 8 (Honokaa), 9 (Waimea),14 (South Kohala), 15 (North Kohala) and 16 (Waikoloa) attempt to protect all of North and South Kohala and some of Hamakua. The volunteer groups, which are located between the stations, provide critical extra help.

Roundup at The Ranch is a neighbor-to-neighbor effort to honor and support all of our local firefighters, whose hard work and dedication help to protect our homes and communities. Seating for the event is limited to 100 and tickets are now available.

The Waikii Ranch community’s own volunteer fire department, 9 Alpha, has worked in partnership with the 9 Bravo team on many occasions to assist the Waimea Fire Department in battling fires throughout the region. 9 Bravo is located roughly halfway between the Waimea and the South Kohala fire stations. The surrounding open pastures and wind-swept fields are often the location of large wild fires, some of which threatened homes and businesses. 9 Bravo has almost a dozen trained and capable firefighters, and two tank trucks that can negotiate rough roads and open fields. The company is called on regularly, with over 30 major emergencies in 2016, including several recently adjacent to Waikii Ranch.

When 9 Bravo started up in 2009, the department provided training and some equipment, including personal protective gear. A small brush truck with a 300-gallon water tank was assigned, but it was old and broke down frequently. As homes were built in Kanehoa and Anekona, the owners wanted to assist the volunteers by providing more than the department could afford. That was the start of a nonprofit company named Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company. AOK got its tax exempt status with help from The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

AOK is focused on supporting 9 Bravo, and through fundraising by donations, purchased personal gear, equipment and a five-ton cargo truck that carries a 1,200 gallon water tank. This truck is a valuable asset which has assisted in many off-road wildfires.

Seeing that the trucks and equipment were kept by the volunteers, with Captain Mike Shattuck’s garage full of hoses and other gear, and the trucks in his front yard, AOK has undertaken to build a permanent facility for 9 Bravo. In the past few years, with plenty of volunteer help from the community, AOK has obtained a site to build a basic equipment garage, and has recently completed design work, obtained permits, and commenced construction.

Although donations from the local community have been helpful, and local contractors and suppliers have been generous in providing in-kind contributions, AOK is still about $50,000 short of cash needed to complete construction of the equipment garage.

Tickets to Round Up at the Ranch are $125 per person, of which $70 is tax deductible.

To purchase tickets: Go to www.danielsayrefoundation.org/

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