Local farmer secures grant for Yadkin Rescue Squad

By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

February 13, 2014

YADKINVILLE — The Yadkin Rescue Squad was presented with a $2,500 grant on Friday from America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Melinda Vestal of Yadkinville applied for the grant on behalf of the rescue squad. She has worked most of her life at Deep Creek Farm and Grain and has volunteered for 15 years with the rescue squad.

“Sometimes our funds can be a little limited so I was just trying to get extra funds for equipment that is needed,” Vestal said.

The money will be used to purchase a device called “The Great Wall of Rescue,” which aids in grain bin extrication, said Jamie Dodge, chief of the Yadkin Rescue Squad.

According to a press release from the Monsanto Fund, America’s Farmers Grow Communities began in 2010 and has donated more than $13 million to nonprofit organizations across the country. The Monsanto Fund is an arm of Illinois-based agriculture company Monsanto, which produces seeds and other agricultural products.

As the grant came from an agricultural company, the rescue squad wanted to use the funds for a project that was agriculture related.

Farms such as Deep Creek have at least 16 grain bins of various sizes, Vestal said. “There are a couple other locations in the county that are similar in size and a whole lot of private farms that have one or two grain bins.”

Farmers sometimes have to climb inside the bins and if proper safety procedures are not followed, it can result in the person becoming trapped inside the grain.

“It can suck you in like quick sand,” Vestal said.

“The Great Wall of Rescue” is a series of aluminum panels that can be inserted into the grain bin and used to remove the grain from around the trapped individual, explained Dodge.

“This will be the first rescue system of its kind in our area. We have several mills and farms in our response area and this will enable us to better serve them and the citizens of our county,” said Vestal.

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.