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Camanche Fire Chief Dave Schutte addresses the public on Thursday at a dedication ceremony for the emergency generators at the Camanche police station and fire department. Congressman Bruce Braley (left) and Councilman Paul Varner joined other city and county officials in attendance.

Natalie Conrad/Clinton Herald
Herald Staff Writer

City officials and residents joined Thursday to celebrate the earmark that allowed for the emergency generators located at the police and fire stations. Congressman Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and representatives of Clinton County Emergency Management attended the dedication ceremony at the generator site adjacent to the police department.

Braley and his staff were responsible for the federal earmark that provided the generators. Clinton County Emergency Management provided the required matching funds for the project.  In 2009, Braley secured $187,500 in federal funds to design and install the emergency generators in Camanche.  The funding was included in the FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

The new emergency generators will allow Camanche’s first responders to continue operating during natural disasters and power outages.

“Preparing for floods and disasters now will save lives and save money in the future,” Braley said.  “Camanche officials have worked diligently to upgrade their systems to prepare for the unknown and I’m happy to have worked with them to get this generator installed.”

Councilman Paul Varner spoke on former mayor Jim Robertson’s behalf, as he was unable to attend. Robertson was instrumental in moving the project forward and says it is an important achievement for the city.

“The installation of these generators is a great accomplishment for Camanche,” Robertson said. “It’s hard to put a value on something like this, as they will only be used in emergencies. To get this project done without any out of the pocket cost to the city in this day and age is a true accomplishment.”

Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness said he agreed with Robertson in that it is hard to assign monetary value to a project like this.

“It is something you use so infrequent, yet it is so important to have,” Kness said. “Our area has such severe weather it is important to have something like this.”

It has been a long road to get the generators put in and was only made possible with help from Braley, according to Fire Chief Dave Schutte.

“Congressman Braley has always been concerned with safety,” Schutte said. “He kept trying year after year to get the project pushed through.”

The fire department and community especially appreciated the generators in January when a power outage left 800 Camanche residents without power for several hours and all night for some. With the emergency generators, the fire department was able to provide a warming center for the residents until their power was restored.

The community pushed for the project and that is what ultimately made it possible, according to Braley.

“This is all due to the people of Camanche and their presenting such a great proposal and working hard to push it forward,” Braley said.

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