RIO COMMUNITIES—When Rio Communities officials learned there are fire-fighting needs in Antigua and Barbuda — the home country of its economic developer, Ralph Mims — they decided to help.
Rio Communities Fire Chief Andrew Tabet said they are able to help the Eastern Caribbean country with equipment and gear. Tabet said the fire department will give 300 feet of 3-inch hose, 100 feet of 1 1/4 inch hose, 100 feet of 5-inch hose, six bunker jackets and one pair of bunker bottoms.
“We were approached by Ralph Mims about the situation … and we’re in a position to help,” Tabet said. “It’s helpful for us to clean up some clutter, and it’s something we’re not able to use by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.”
Mims, who’s family is from Antigua and Barbuda, said the equipment will help the country, which is home to about 97,000 people.
“I’d like to extend appreciation from the prime minister, Gaston Browne, attorney general, Steadroy Benjamin, who is over the police and fire department, and also fire chief Elvis Weaver, who just retired after 40 years,” Mims told the council.
Mims said once the fire equipment is in Antigua and Barbuda, he will be holding a press conference. He said he is also looking at doing a live interview on the national TV station, talking about Rio Communities and the donation of the fire equipment.
“From the bottom of my heart, we are grateful,” Mims said. “The prime minister is grateful, and our elected officials in Antigua and Barbuda.
“This is a developing country,” he said. “We’re doing fine economically, but we definitely are in need of fire equipment. Chief Tabet stepped up, the mayor stepped up and the council stepped up to help our little country, which is only 108 square miles.”
After the city council approved the donation, Mims said the city of Albuquerque was also making a donation — 12 pairs of wildland boots, one Typhoon PPV fan, 50 sets of OOS bunker boots, 20 pairs of OOS bunker boots, six sections of OOS 1 3/4-inch hose and two metal booster hose reels.
The Albuquerque donation is scheduled to arrive in Antigua in late March 2023, and Rio Communities donations estimated arrival time is July 2023.
“We’re planning a delegation of our elected officials, including (Albuquerque) Mayor Tim Keller to go to Antigua and Barbuda sometime this year or next year to meet with the minister of economics, minister of tourism, the prime minister and the attorney general,” Mims said. “I’m extending the invitation of our elected officials to go to Antigua and Barbuda as well. You’re invited to come down and enjoy our beautiful beaches —which is only the beginning.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.