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Lansing Fire donates old engine to small downstate community

Small town Brooklyn, IL thankful for engine

By Jennifer Yos

LANSING, Ill. (October 28, 2020) – At the October 20 Village Board meeting, Lansing Fire Chief Chad Kooyenga thanked the board members for their approval earlier this year of the Lansing Fire Department’s donation of its old engine #29—a 1987 GMC conventional cab pumper—to the Brooklyn Fire & Rescue Company in Brooklyn, IL. Back in June, the Lansing Fire Department had replaced the old pumper with a new custom-designed E-One fire engine. They subsequently donated the GMC pumper to the volunteer fire department in Brooklyn, IL.

Fire Department
The Brooklyn Fire & Rescue posted its appreciation for the newest member of its fleet on Facebook in August. (Screenshot from Brooklyn Fire & Rescue Company August 23, 2020 Facebook post)

“The donation of this engine was epic for them, to say the least,” Chief Kooyenga told the Board. He explained that Brooklyn is a small southern Illinois village located along the Mississippi River just two miles north of East St. Louis with approximately 676 residents, 48% of which are below poverty level. Their volunteer fire department operates on a $1000-a-year budget, and repairs to their equipment and their facilities are often paid for and undertaken by the volunteer members, themselves.

“When we met them in July,” Chief Kooyenga explained, “they could not wait to get the engine back to their department. They had already set up a night of training for those guys as soon as they brought it down there—they were getting down there at like 5:00 in the evening. I lost count of how many times those guys thanked us. They said, ‘It may be old to you, but it’s new to us.’ It was awesome.”

After thanking the board for approving the donation, Chief Kooyenga presented Mayor Eidam with a Brooklyn Fire Department t-shirt, a small token of the Brooklyn Fire & Rescue Company’s appreciation.

Mayor Eidam displays the t-shirt given to her from the Brooklyn Fire & Rescue Company as a token of appreciation. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)


Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos
Jennifer Yos grew up on Walter Street in Lansing with nine siblings. She attended St. Ann’s School and T.F. South, and she earned a BA in the Teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a MS in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Francis, Joliet. For 34 years she taught English, as well as Creative Writing and Drama, at Lincoln-Way High School. She dabbled in freelance journalism for the Joliet Herald News Living section. Now retired, Jennifer appreciates the opportunity to write for The Lansing Journal and is uplifted by the variety of positive people she has already met who are making a difference in Lansing.