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man donates fire department


Elderly man donates $500k to struggling Missouri fire department using gear from the 1980s

The 91-year-old wanted to make sure they had what was needed to save lives.

Elderly man donates $500k to tiny struggling fire department

Most people don't think much about fire departments until you need one. You know they exist and the purpose they serve but many people take their existence for granted. One fire department in Calhoun, Missouri was barely a department in 2021 when the new fire chief, Mark Hardin took over.

When you think of a department you think of multiple people, especially for something as important as a fire department. It takes a lot of training, muscle and skill to do the things firefighters do when they need to battle a blazing building, sometimes rescuing people inside. But the Calhoun fire department was a one man show.

It took Hardin and his passion for helping people to drum up more firefighters in the tiny town of 500. He took the town from just one firefighter to 28 and he trained them all. The biggest problem was that their equipment was from the 1980s and none of the firetrucks were in working order. Can't put out a fire if you can't get the trucks to run. That's where 91-year-old Sam Sloan comes in.

“I'm making a donation to the fire department. I've been planning to for several years," Sloan tells KMBC 9. “It's half a million dollars and a half a million dollars is a pretty good donation."

Hardin and the rest of the fire department think it's a fantastic donation for the rural department who are all volunteers struggling to keep the bank account above zero. The chief already has big plans for some of the money.

Watch the video:

"The first thing that we're going to replace is our tanker pumper. Our tanker pumper has been patched together about 17 times in the last year I think I welded on that thing. Every one of our firefighters, from head to toe, we're going to be fitted next Monday for new gear," Hardin says.

Sloan doesn't see the big deal in donating a half million dollars to the fire department because he knows "how to make a dollar," he doesn't know how to fix the equipment. Overall Sloan and Hardin think of the massive donation as simply helping their community and that's all they care about.