Doug does it again!
Mendel set to give second fire truck to Cambodia
An eight-person fire department in Cambodia’s rugged Ratanakiri Province will reap the benefits from Doug Mendel’s latest round of giving - by Nicole Formosa, Summit Daily News, Colorado, USA.
Doug Mendel, who is known locally for his philanthropic efforts to improve fire protection in Cambodia, will leave next month to give a second fire engine to a department in the impoverished southeast Asian country. Mendel leaves on October 25 and will spend three weeks in Cambodia, where his first order of business will be a trip to the remote Ratanakiri Province to attend a dedication ceremony for the new truck. Mendel paid about $13,000 with funds from his nonprofit organization — The Douglas Mendel Cambodia Relief Fund — to have the fire truck built in the capital city of Phnom Penh over the past four months. A contractor there began with a used, two-and-a-half ton Korean truck and added a 2,000 liter water tank, five sections of hose, a pump for drafting and a gear compartment. The finishing touches included a coat of bright red paint and sirens. The work was completed about two weeks ago.
Firefighters from far Northeastern Ratanakiri Province will make the 12-hour trek to Phnom Penh to pick up their gift, Mendel said. The new truck will replace the fire department’s existing 20-year-old Chinese fire truck that’s currently only about 50 percent operational, Mendel said. Last year, Mendel shipped an old fire engine donated by Breckenridge’s Red, White & Blue Fire District to the port city of Sihanoukville, where it has since helped put out several blazes. Now, Mendel is concentrating on raising money to either have another fire truck built for a different province or to pay for a fire station in Ratanakiri Province. “There’s already a fire station in Ratanakiri, but it basically is just bare bones — they don’t even have bays (for equipment),” Mendel said.
Mendel makes most of his money from fundraisers, private donations and the sale of handmade Cambodian crafts at local flea markets. Since Mendel formed his nonprofit organization three years ago, he’s raised more than $100,000, about 80 percent of which has gone back to the Cambodian people. Beyond donating the fire trucks, Mendel has provided numerous fire stations with fire-resistant jackets and pants donated by local fire departments. He regularly delivers stuffed animals, toothbrushes and toothpaste to Cambodian street children and has given one underfunded national park nearly $10,000 worth of electronic equipment, such as GPS units, compasses and digital cameras. Go to his website to learn more about Mendel’s work.