LaGRANGE — A local nonprofit granted $9,500 to the city during a City Council meeting on Tuesday to buy automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, and exercise equipment for the police and fire departments.
Heart of West Georgia — a group focusing on women’s health, cardiovascular health and obesity — donated the funds. Representative Coleman Cody said he spoke with several fireman who were looking for exercise equipment at their stations to help them stay in shape.
He approached Public Safety Chief Lou Dekmar, who oversees the police and fire departments. He confirmed with Cody the equipment would be a good addition, and also was interested in AEDs Cody offered.
Dekmar filled out an application to seek the equipment and received $9,500 for rowing machines and four AEDs.
The funds cover $1,000 for each AED, but the cost for the ones Dekmar requested are $1,400 each, Cody said. The cost to cover the difference is $1,600, which Mayor Jim Thornton said the city could cover. The donation covers the full cost of rowing machines for each fire station and the police department.
“On behalf of Heart of West Georgia, Gary (Stephen, the group’s president) and myself, we thank you,” Cody said, after which attendees to the City Council meeting applauded.
Dekmar said when Cody approached him about adding AEDs, he did have a need for some in specialty units for the police department. He said patrol units are already equipped with AEDs.
“We took advantage of (Heart of West Georgia’s) charity and their benevolency, and I want to thank them for a long-term commitment to this initiative,” Dekmar said.
Heart of West Georgia was formed from the former board of the local American Heart Association chapter. The AMA pulled out of smaller areas, including LaGrange, so the local members decided to start their own program and keep all funds raised local, Cody said.
Since 2003, he said the group has placed 170 AEDs in Troup County.
Matthew Strother is the editor of LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153.