AMBOY — United States Senator Dick Durbin visited the Amboy Fire Department on Tuesday, June 27 to say thank you for their service and efforts, and to see how federal money has been put to use.
Durbin is the creator of the Supporting and Improving Rural EMTs Needs (SIREN) Act which grants funds to rural emergency service centers for training and equipment.
“My visits throughout the state during the week of Fourth of July are really focused on rural health care and rural emergency services,” Durbin said. “When it comes down to it, this Amboy Fire District had 400 calls last year. They’re busy with their residents and visitors to the camp grounds.
“If you have people who are well equipped and well trained, they’re going to save lives. There is no question about it.
I think this is a good investment, I’m glad we created this grant program, and I’m glad to hear communities have successfully applied for the grant.”
Amboy has received three SIREN grants totaling $360,000. Amboy, Nauvoo, Gibson City, and Jerseyville are the four communities in Illinois who have taken advantage of the federal program.
SIREN was originally part of the 2018 Farm Act and granted $5 million per year to approved applications. In February, Durbin (Dem) and Senator Susan Collins (Rep-Maine) introduced the SIREN Reauthorization Act which brought the SIREN funding from $5 million to $10.5 million.
“I’m from downstate. I was born and raised 300 miles away from Chicago,” Durbin said. “I’m proud to represent Chicago, don’t make a mistake about that, but to be able to come downstate to the rural areas and the farming areas to do something I know improves the quality of life isn’t political at all, it’s a real plus.”
Amboy Fire Chief Jeff Bryant Sr. was given credit by Senator Durbin as Bryant Sr. has written each of AFD’s SIREN grant applications that have been approved and awarded.
Bryant Sr. is currently working on a fourth application.
“It was great for Senator Durbin to spend a portion of his day here with us,” said Bryant Sr. “I always thought from the first time I met him in 2020 that he was very acute to the circumstances of rural emergency services. He wasn’t looking at the bureaucratic side, but he was looking at what was really going on in the rural cities and villages in Illinois.
“It made me feel good when Senator Durbin said, ‘No one is taking advantage of the SIREN program like Amboy.’ We’re doing the right thing. I’m a volunteer and this is my way of giving back.”