Clare Wilson fund continues volunteer’s legacy of service
After 20 years as a volunteer firefighter, few calls leave Matt Skrekla, Captain of Fuller Hose Co., speechless.
But Skrekla won’t soon forget when his phone rang last spring and he heard fellow Fuller volunteer Clare Wilson telling him he wanted to donate $50,000 to the department.
Wilson, 72, had recently been given a terminal cancer diagnosis and wanted to ensure the department and community that he loves will continue to be cared for long into the future.
“I do what I can, when I can,” said Wilson who was born and raised in North East.
He described the members of Fuller Hose Co. as his brotherhood, saying “I can count on any one of them.” The department also has been well served by Wilson, who joined in 2008 after retiring from GE. To this day, Wilson still serves as the department’s chaplain and emeritus fire police officer, making sure his brothers are safe each time the department responds to a call. He also was named firefighter of the year in 2021, rookie of the year in 2009 and served as secretary for eight years.
To honor his legacy of service, Fuller Hose established the Clare Wilson Fund with the North East Community Foundation in 2021.
The fund helps the fire company in two critical ways:
- meeting immediate equipment needs and
- ensuring that funds will be there in the future to support the changing needs of the community.
In December, thanks to the Clare Wilson Fund, the department received a much-needed new piece of equipment — an F550 multipurpose truck that will assist in brush fires and water rescues.
Since the Clare Wilson Fund provided half of the money for the truck, his name was incorporated into the design and will be illuminated at all times. He also received a photo of the truck autographed by all the people who built it in his honor. It proudly hangs above his TV, visible at all times.
“It’s a little bigger than I imagined,” said Wilson with a chuckle, referring to the monster tires that give the vehicle 20 inches of clearance even through water. “I’m proud that I had a hand in it.”
The Clare Wilson Fund will help the department maintain and grow a much-needed nest egg.
The Clare Wilson Fund will also help the department maintain and grow a much-needed nest egg, which is why they opted to establish the fund with the North East Community Foundation where professional investors manage the portfolio to maximize security and growth. Funds can be started in any amount.
Make a gift or establishing a scholarship or fund
To learn more about making a gift or establishing a scholarship or fund, contact The North East Community Foundation at (814) 882-5594 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.