ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Rock Island, Ill. (June 14, 2013) -- The Davenport Fire Department's Military Appreciation Month Water Drive, provided bottled water for the United Service Organization to support service members.

"The Quad Cities is very military friendly and supportive of their service members locally and around the world," said Jackie Inman, Rock Island Center director, USO of Illinois. "Any time I go in to the community looking for partnerships and donations for our military members, I have never been turned down."

Davenport Fire Department Fire Chief Lynn Washburn-Livingston was a driving force in setting up and implementing the bottled water drive, Inman said.

"In April, I decided to partner with a local organization to get donations for our first annual water drive," said Inman. "I went to Davenport and talked with Chief Washburn-Livingston and she did not hesitate to get the event started."

Washburn-Livingston is the first female to lead the fire department in Davenport.

"The fire department decided to hold the event during May, which is Military Appreciation Month," said Inman. "They setup all of the media related programming and started the drive off on May 1, at its central fire station. Every week, we went to the seven Davenport fire stations, which served as water drop off points, and picked up the donated water."

The information about the water drive was provided by the DFD to the local news media and all of their publications, it also was represented in the Island Insight, Inman said.

"A firefighter from station four told a friend who works at the Rock Island School District," said Inman. "The station received 80 cases of water for our final pickup."

"Garrison Commander Col. Elmer Speights, Jr. and his deputy Joel Himsl, were going to pick up the water in their own vehicles," said Joseph Heim, deputy fire chief, Rock Island Arsenal Fire Department. "Chief Terry McMaster (RIAFD) offered a trailer and a few firefighters to assist. They went over, got the water and on the way back called to the station and everyone that was free, assisted in unloading the trailer. We were able to take a 45-60 minute task and make it into a 15-20 minute job."

"In total, we received 110 cases of water," said Inman. "All of our water will be used locally at our USO center on Arsenal Island or during special events provided by the USO for the benefit of our service members and their families."

Yellow ribbon events, organizational days, picnics, or homecoming events for redeploying military units, are examples of when the bottled water is needed, Inman said.

"We will be using the water for a homecoming event in the next few weeks for Detachment 1, Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion (MEDEVAC) returning from Afghanistan," said Inman. "During a homecoming event we go out to the unit and bring snacks, water and whatever we can to the event for the service members and their families. We also purchase yellow roses, and as the service members exit the bus, we hand them yellow roses to welcome them home and they can give them to their spouses or loved ones. We have participated in homecoming events in Peoria, Galesburg, Rock Falls (Illinois), and Waterloo (Iowa)."

Page last updated Fri June 14th, 2013 at 00:00