There’s hope that the second time’s the charm for an Alberta trio trying to deliver a badly-needed fire truck to a town in Mexico.
In January, retired firefighter Chris Hardeman, along with friends Brad Volovich and Roger Poon, left Edmonton with an out-of-commission fire truck donated by the city and headed south of the border.
The goal was to donate the truck to the under-supplied fire department in Puerto Morelos, but red tape forced the trio to stop just short of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Unbeknownst to us, the paperwork that was required to get the truck across the border into Mexico took longer than we had anticipated,” Hardeman said Sunday, via Skype from the border town of Laredo, Texas.
The trio had ended up storing the truck in Laredo back in January, flying back to Edmonton while they waited for the final paperwork. They received it in May but were unable to take the trip down to Texas to finish the journey until now.
The group is now waiting to get a bond on the truck before they cross the border; if everything goes smoothly, the fire truck could be in Puerto Morelos by the end of the week.
It has been a long journey for the trio though; the first time they attempted to take the truck down to Mexico, they ran into mechanical issues – twice.
Poon said the group had thought about giving up on the project but decided to persevere through the roadblocks.
“The truck is for the people. The red tape is a little hiccup, a speed bump. We want to finish this,” he said.
Hardeman agreed the project was more challenging than the trio initially thought it would be.
“It certainly was but also it gave us faith in people again. The help that we received when we drove across the U.S. was just amazing,” said Hardeman.
“Did we think it was going to last 10 months when we started this project? No way. We get that bond tomorrow and start driving across that border and start bringing this fire truck to Puerto Morelos. All of that bad stuff that happened behind us I’m sure will just wash away.”
Volovich, who owns a home in the area of Puerto Moreles, said the truck and other donations will go a long way for the small fire department.
The group said that they haven’t heard from other municipalities who are interested in getting a donated fire truck, but if asked, they would go through the process again.
“We would probably tackle this again given our experience and knowledge. If you have contacts and know the process, that makes it much easier,” said Poon.
–with files from Quinn Ohler