The Fall 2019 Fire Station Fundraiser Raffle earned a net $9,810. Assistant Chief Ken Weskamp provided marketing support and was served as the primary organizer and coordinator for this effort. He spent countless hours. He, along with Chief Marlin Sprow were the most effective team soliciting area businesses for contributions. Auxiliary members Vanessa McMurray, Julie Brown, and Sue Wassersleben joined Firefighter Bruce Reynolds and Medical Officer John Andrews in pounding the pavement and setting up stands at various businesses including Ace Hardware and Town and Country Foods in Belgrade, Murdoch’s in Four Corners and Bozeman, and Bob Ward’s in Bozeman. The lucky winner of the ATV is a resident in Belgrade who purchased the winning ticket at Ace Hardware. Our thanks to all of these volunteers who donated their time and effort.

Please thank all the volunteers who made this a successful fundraiser, and particular thanks to Ken Weskamp and Madison River Propane for all their work.

The direct donation portion of the fundraiser has raised $7,450 thus far. We thank the GRR property owners who have generously donated to this project. The direct donation portion of the fundraiser will continue until we complete the fire station. If you haven’t already done so, please consider making a donation. Donations are tax-deductible since they are being used for public purpose under Section 170(c)(1) of the IRS code. Please mail donations to: GRRRFD, PO Box 109, Manhattan, MT 59741.


2019 GRRRFD Handout for GRRHOA Annual Meeting


There are three critical components to a fire department: firefighters, firefighting equipment and apparatus, and a fire station. The fire station is necessary to keep firefighting vehicles in a heated and secure building with keys in the ignition, ready to roll on a moment’s notice.

The Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department (GRRFD) is the only department in Montana without ownership or a long-term lease on a building suitable to function as a fire station. The Developer has generously allowed GRRFD to use the building at 650 Equestrian Center Loop Road (the old HOA shop) rent free. This arrangement is temporary. The Trustees of the Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District (GRRRFD) have decided that the time is upon us to plan, fund, and build a fire station. This matter was discussed at the 2019 GRRHOA Annual Meeting and a handout was provided at that meeting. This matter is documented in GRRRFD monthly Trustee meeting agendas, minutes, and chief’s reports since April 2019.

The new station must be within 5 road miles of the farthest dwelling it serves for insurance and quality of service reasons. This rules out building it at the Equestrian Center or at the Chief’s House on that property. The GRRRFD Board of Trustees have proposed to build this station on the GRRHOA property at 5770 Nixon Gulch Road. The current proposal is to build it as an addition to the north side of the GRRHOA shop. The exterior will match the existing building. The station will be very basic, with room for four vehicles and the department’s firefighting equipment. This location meets the distance requirements above and provides some necessary economies in terms of well, septic, driveway, power, phone, and limited excavation expense. These, in aggregate, should reduce construction costs significantly compared to building on a separate lot.

Funding for this project will be done with the raffle fundraiser and donation drive, funds saved over the past two years, and a commercial loan. We will seek other funding resources, though no large grant applications are likely to be successful (this was tried in 2012). This project will have no impact on GRRHOA member dues. No GRRHOA money will be spent on this project. We do not plan to apply for bond funding. The GRRRFD Board does not plan to apply for an increase in tax mill rate.

The GRRRFD is in the early planning phase of this project. As such, no accurate estimate on cost is possible at this point. The plan is to start construction after the Nixon Bridge is complete, possibly as early as summer or fall of 2020 depending on funding status and construction firm selection and availability. Additional information about the project, the district, and the department can be found at http://www.grrrfd.org. 

The Fire District is kicking off a raffle fundraiser throughout the Gallatin Valley to help pay for the project. The raffle will sell only 2500 tickets at $25 each, five for $100 for a 2019 Can-Am Outlander XT 570 ATV. The raffle drawing will take place on 12/26/19. Raffle organizers are Ken Weskamp (406-599-5550) and Maria Fraser. Tickets can be purchased from them or by contacting [email protected].

The GRR Rural Fire District is also seeking donations from the public to help pay for the new station. The GRR community has been very generous in the past and we hope that will continue with this vital community project. Please consider making a donation that will add significant benefit to public safety in our community. Donations are tax-deductible under section 170(c)(1) of the IRS Code. The GRRRFD is a governmental public service entity and all funds donated are used for public purpose. To make a donation, contact us at [email protected]. Donation checks can be made out to GRR Rural Fire District and mailed to GRR Rural Fire District, PO Box 109, Manhattan, MT 59741