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Humvee new tool in county’s emergency management arsenal

GENEVA – A volunteer effort that involved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in donations has provided Kane County with a new emergency response tool.

Don Bryant, director of the Kane County Office of Emergency Management, described the process of obtaining – and then repurposing – the military Humvee for county purposes as a team effort.

“They worked a lot of hours, some long into the night,” he told the Kane County Public Health Committee on Tuesday.

The Humvee enhances the OEM’s response capabilities, particularly in search and rescue situations, Bryant said.

He said it also is equipped with lights that can be used in rural areas.

Bryant emphasized that no tax dollars were spent on the vehicle, which made its first public appearance at the Campton Hills Safety Fair last month.

Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor, R-Sugar Grove, said the public needs to know about the work put into the vehicle. To see what it used to be compared to what it is now, she said, “That’s a wow.”

The OEM partnered with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office to obtain the military vehicle through the Law Enforcement Support Office, which transfers excess Department of Defense property to law enforcement agencies across the county, Bryant said.

A retrieval team traveled to the Missouri National Guard Joint Force Headquarters to get the Humvee, he said, and they returned that same day just before midnight.

“It was a tough drive,” Bryant said.

Repurposing the Humvee to suit the OEM’s needs took about 350 hours, he said. Except for the external paint, he said, everything was done by volunteers.

Companies and agencies donated more than $20,000 in goods and services to the project, he said.

Also Tuesday, Barb Jeffers of the county health department presented the proposed 2015 budget for the health department and Kane County Animal Control.

The health department plans to operate with a nearly $6.3 million budget, up by about $330,000 from 2014. At $931,492, animal control is planning for a budget about $3,200 less than the 2014 budget.

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