Thursday, August 13, 2015
Inmates learn job skills, earn wages restoring classic fire engine for rural fire department
The fire truck, a 1961 Harvester International, had been sitting around for years "hidden under layers of rust, pine needles and red paint faded to an obscure pink hue," Haake writes. The cost for repairs was not in the department's budget. So, officials turned to the prison program, where inmates "spent 280 hours painting, fixing and installing $14,500 worth of parts and generally restoring the engine to its former glory." Inmates earned about 85 cents an hour to work on the truck. That's not a lot of money but enough to purchase goods or save for when they are released.
"The inmates cut glass to match the traditional window size, created metal labels that identified the engine's original brand and fashioned metal knobs in their shop to replace those that had fallen apart due to use," Haake writes. "Altogether, Missoula Rural Fire paid $22,500 for the restoration project, using funds donated by the families of deceased rural firefighters Richard Bertlin and John Jirsa." (Read more)