SALYERSVILLE – A generous donation from a nearby fire department to Salyersville will be repurposed to honor the late Magoffin County Rescue Squad Captain Carter Conley, who always wanted a lime green truck for the squad.
Salyersville Fire Department Chief Paul Howard told Mortimer Media Group they went earlier this month to pick up a fire truck, being donated from the Allen Fire Department, and after discussing with Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd, they decided to use the lime green truck to honor Conley, who passed away earlier this year due to COVID-19.
“We sat down and started thinking, me and Pete Shepherd, about how Carter Conley always loved a green fire truck, or green item, lime green on top of it, so that truck has all the rescue lights and scene lights on it, with a built-in generator, so we decided to see if the rescue squad was interested in it.”
When Howard and Shepherd heard that the Allen Fire Department had a truck they wanted to gift to another fire department where it would be used and appreciated, they told the Allen Fire Department chief the Salyersville Fire Department would graciously accept it, but it soon became obvious where the truck should go.
Jason Slusher, with the Magoffin County Rescue Squad, told Mortimer Media Group, “I saw it when Salyersville pulled it in down there and that color, I said, ‘That’s Carter, right there,’ before we ever knew anything about this.”
Rescue Squad Captain Dewey Marshall said, “It was just his favorite color. He had it on everything.”
Slusher said the new truck has room to fit at least eight people safely and, with the rescue lights already installed, it’s ready to go.
“Any of our other trucks, the most people you can fit in comfortably is about four, but this way we roll one truck with about seven or eight people and have everybody we need on scene without having to tie up all our vehicles just to transport people,” Slusher said.
The pump on the truck doesn’t work, but they don’t plan to fix that, using it instead for high water rescues, crew transports, and at times when a generator could be needed at an emergency.
Slusher also said they are looking at options to repurpose the area where the water tank is on the truck for a quick launch for the swift water rescue boat.
“It would be pretty MacGyver-like,” Slusher laughed.
The truck is going to be called “Big C 101,” with Carter Conley’s picture on the back door, with plans to have the vehicle redesigned and labeled for the Christmas parade. Big C, of course, was one of Conley’s nicknames many in the community knew him by and 101 was his call sign on the radio.
“It would be nice for everyone to see Carter smiling and waving as we come through,” Slusher said.
Howard, who helped start the rescue squad with Conley in the 1970s, said it will be a touching experience seeing “Big C” all over the new truck.
“He’s been my assistant chief,” Howard said. “I was his first officer and there’s just been numerous things, and for 40 years all I’ve heard out of Carter was, ‘We want a lime green truck,’ and it’s available right now – a lime green truck.”