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Grant Money at Work for Public Safety

Owen Valley Fire Territory: 2023 Community Investment Grantee

The intended purpose of Community Investment Grants is to supply broad, diverse, and responsive funds of up to $5,000. As of June 30th, 2023, three Community Investment grants had been awarded, and the Owen Valley Fire Territory was one of the recipients.

The OCCF granted $5,000 to help purchase protective kevlar vests for first responders to use during high risk calls and while making entry during active shootings. This equipment allows earlier access to patients to administer immediate lifesaving care.

Shop With a Cop

In 2021, the Owen County Community Foundation teamed up with Master Trooper Ryan White and Trooper Randall Van Arsdale, the Owen County Sheriff's Department, Spencer Police Department, Indiana DNR Law Enforcement, Walmart Spencer - W State Highway 46 to participate in the annual Spencer Fraternal Order of Police “Shop With A Cop” program. This event was able to support over 60 kids! Since 2019, over $20,000 has been granted from an anonymous donor to help local children in need. The remainder of these funds went to support the Back to School Expo.

Grant Money at Work

Your OCCF collaborates with several local agencies to provide funding for services that will keep Owen County residents at their safest.

Some recent projects include, the Cataract VFD's new training tower, which was partly funded by a grant made by the OCCF.

The OCCF also partnered with other local organizations to fund the Owen County Infant Safety Team's Safe Haven Baby Box Project.

And thanks to a grant from your OCCF, several local agencies including the Red Cross, Owen County Emergency Medical Service (EMS), and Spencer-Owen Community Schools have joined forces to help teach Owen County students about medical aid, providing training for acute situations including what precautions and steps should be taken when an adult, classmate or even an infant is choking.

'08 Flood Recovery Efforts

The floods of June swelled the river and swept through our hollows and ravines on June 7. A national disaster was declared in Owen County on June 10. What started as a heavy rain turned into the worst disaster in Indiana history in terms of financial loss.

The emergency response by the Red Cross and our own first responders and county personnel was stellar and not one single life was lost. Even with the incredible damage to our roads and bridges, estimated at $25 million, 99 percent of our citizens returned to normal within days or a couple of weeks.

600 people applied to FEMA for assistance. Even weeks after the initial flooding, Owen County families were still dealing with the devastation brought on by the storms. Many of these families experienced serious losses.

The need to continue the long-term recovery drove our community to form a long-term disaster recovery group, the Rebuild Owen County Committee, or the ROCC. This broad-based volunteer group, made up of county non-profit agencies, churches, government, and individuals worked in two phases to help Owen County recover by seeking a wide range of resources.

The OCCF helped to survey the damage, assist officials and accept donations for the recovery process. The ROCC was organized as a committee of your OCCF so that a new organization did not need to be formed to handle the urgent issues raised by the flood. The steering committee met monthly to oversee operations. Volunteers were recruited and trained to do case management. The case managers provided technical and emotional support for 93 families. Some families required little assistance; some lost everything in the disaster and required a new home.

OCCF and ROCC staff and volunteers collaborated to create a system to manage the half million dollars received through the Indiana Association of United Ways from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Phase one was to help families in need. One such family had major damage to their home and needed help rebuilding despite having insurance and a little savings set aside for emergencies. Phase two was to develop a plan for the community so that Owen County is better prepared the next time the river decides to come into town.

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