Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

April 14, 2011

Partnership promises to be a ‘win-win’

CENTERVILLE — An Appanoose County marina owner has formed a partnership with a non-profit organization which is expected to be a win-win for both entities.

Doug Clemens, owner of Southfork and Buckcreek marinas at Rathbun Lake, has some expensive diving equipment with communications capability Appanoose County Water Rescue does not have. By the end of the summer, Clemens plans to donate the equipment he said is worth $3,000 to water rescue.

"In terms of money, that's not a lot of money. But when you're a non-profit, volunteer organization that survives on $1,200 a year for funding, yeah, that's a lot of money," Clemens said. "So they will have communication capability. They'll be able to talk under water, which they can't do right now."

But before Clemens makes the donation, Appanoose County Water Rescue certified divers and support staff are going to help Clemens inspect the cables that keep the docks in place at the two marinas. The quid pro quo Clemens said will allow him to save money, the "win-win."

"This is something that has to be done every so many years," Clemens said. "You have to inspect the cables and replace them. And instead of having another company come out and do it, which can be very costly, we opted to do it ourselves because I'm a diver also."

Clemens said two cables have been replaced so far.

Clemens, a former member of Appanoose County Water Rescue, said after the cable inspections wrap up this summer, he would have no need for the diving equipment so why not give it to water rescue to use. The agreement does allow Clemens use of the equipment the next time dock cables need to be inspected.

"It's expensive equipment and there's no sense in it just sitting in the closet for all those years when it could  potentially be saving a life or something like that," Clemens said.

Clemens said another objective is to bring more attention to Appanoose County Water Rescue and their need for funding. It's a way to help give back to the community.

"I'm just trying to help them get some exposure and get some donations and they're helping me. They're getting training," Clemens said. "It's a win-win situation for all of us."

Clemens said cable inspections at Southfork docks were expected to be completed last week. Cable inspections need to be finished before boats can be docked, he said.

Rick Butler, president of non-profit Appanoose County Water Rescue and a retired special deputy with the sheriff's office, said they have nine certified divers and approximately 20 ground-support people. He said water rescue does receive $1,000 from the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors each year, but all other funding is from donations.

Butler said a diver having underwater communications to a person on the shore during a water rescue is essential.  

"That way people on shore know exactly what's going on," Butler said. "What the diver is doing. If the diver has a problem and then all he has to do is tell the shore personnel ... whatever he needs."

Butler said the underwater communications system would be a "great asset for the team." Appanoose County Water Rescue shore personnel and divers are all volunteers associated with either law enforcement or fire department. Right now, divers tug on the safety ropes to communicate to shore personnel.

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