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Good Neighbor Fund Supports Multi-County Water Rescue

For rescue missions on the water, time is crucial—every second counts towards saving a life. Riverton Fire Department first responders are now prepared with a fully outfitted, reliable watercraft thanks to a 2023 grant from the Community Foundation for Mason County provided by the Good Neighbor Fund, private donations, and grants from other community partners.

Last year, the Riverton Firefighters Association applied to the Foundation’s spring competitive grant round and was awarded funds for a trolling motor and a list of lifesaving rescue boat essentials, including ropes, life jackets, life rings, distress signals, fire extinguishers, and an air horn. The grant also provided a graph that has Mega side imagi

ng, Mega down imaging, sonar, and GPS. The graph uses coordinates to guide the trolling motor within inches, allowing first responders to be thorough when doing a grid search. These new features helped the Riverton Fire Department meet State, Federal, and Coast Guard boating requirements and support underwater searches.

Lake Township Fire Department heard about Riverton’s new rescue boat and equipment and invited the fire department to join them for a training session. Lake Township covers Big Star Lake, which experiences considerable boating traffic during the summer months. The Township requested that Riverton Firefighters respond to any future water emergencies with them since the new rescue boat makes Riverton the closest ally to aid in water rescues. “We are now looking at a multi-county resource that could impact many people for years to come,” said Joe Cooper, Riverton Fire Department’s fire chief.

Chief Cooper recognizes the profound impact of having access to the latest water rescue technology available to Mason and neighboring counties: “This was a very much-needed piece of equipment for our residents. Riverton Fire Department would never be where we are today without the help from the Community Foundation.”

The Good Neighbor Fund is a donor-advised fund that was established with the Community Foundation for Mason County in 2012 by Consumers Energy. The Good Neighbor Fund was established to be used solely for projects that improve the quality of life in the areas of Summit and Riverton Townships in and around the Lake Winds Energy Park Project.

To learn more about the Good Neighbor Fund, grants at the Community Foundation for Mason County, or ways you can give back to your community, visit or email Andrea Large at