Buddhist Association comes to assistance of Kent Fire Department

By Eric Gross, Putnam County Courier, Oct 13, 2005

KENT CLIFFS, FL (USA) -- The Buddhist Association of the United States has once again proven to be a good neighbor.

Last Saturday, officials of the group headquartered at the Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent Cliffs visited Kent Fire Department headquarters and presented fire officials with a substantial check to be used for a down payment for a new ambulance.

While on an emergency call several weeks ago to the monastery, the rescue rig broke down. When officials of the Buddhist Association learned the vehicle was beyond repair and that the fire service was being forced to purchase a new ambulance, it decided to help.

"As a member of the community, we want to chip in so our town could have proper equipment to respond to emergencies in a timely manner," said the Rev. Xing Chun, senior monk second to the abbot.

Howard Carpenter, a life member of the volunteer fire service, thanked the fire department's neighbors for the generous gift. "We just don't have adequate finding for the new ambulance that will cost about $115,000," he said.

Carpenter called the Buddhist's donation an "extremely kind and generous act. These people have stepped forward and are meeting our needs to replace the ambulance. It is very gracious of them."

The Rev. Chun handed over a check to Carpenter and assistant chief Matt Lombardo.

"We appreciate the efforts of the volunteers. This is our duty of being members of Putnam County," said the priest.

Carpenter forecast once the order was placed, it would take about three months for the new rig to arrive in Kent.

In the meantime, the fire service is using an old Carmel ambulance that was converted into a rescue rig for the Kent FD. The vehicle has been retrofitted as an ambulance again and is making emergency calls on a regular basis.