Ambulances get a new home

HOOPESTON, Ill. (WCIA) -- The city is retiring three of its ambulances by giving them to a good cause.

The city wasn't sure what to do with them until leaders got a bright idea. Tuesday, they brought people together to show the new way they're being used.

These ambulances are ready to be retired, but they still have a lot of miles left in them. Since the city didn't need them anymore, they figured why not give them to groups which really need them.

"Oh huge, thank you, 'cause this really is a big benefit for us."

"Thank you city of Hoopeston. It's a great thing."

Gratitude. That's what these people are feeling after Hoopeston gave them a big gift.

"We had two options. We could either donate it or we could either put it out for bid. And a lot of time when you put it out for bids people don't want to pay very much for it so we thought this was a more responsible way to use taxpayer dollars. And donate it to good causes."

Three retired ambulances now have new homes. One went the UI and Champaign Police Bomb Squad.

"It really kind of saves us. We were putting in grants in to get a dedicated bomb squad truck. But they're just so expensive it's very difficult."

They say one of those can cost up to $200,000. While this gift may be a big financial save, it's also helping save lives in more ways than one.

"When we were driving with the big truck, it really only had seats and seatbelts for two officers. So now our team of six can actually fit in here and they all have seatbelts."

This truck is more compact and easier to drive.

"So we're not this great big long train that has to show up. Now we can actually get this thing in really quick, roll our robots off of it really fast and it gives us a much quicker response time."

But the bomb squad isn't the only group with a new ride. Another ambulance went to the city's mobile command center and the last one went to the high school's media department.

"So we can go out and live stream events from wherever we can drive to."

That's a big deal for this small school.

"Oh it's a huge thing. We couldn't afford to buy it with the schools in the shape they are nowadays we couldn't afford to buy it. So it was huge getting a donation."

All the groups have already put the ambulances into full use and you would hardly recognize the inside of them. Each group made interior renovations to fit its own needs. 


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