Hanceville Fire Department receives new truck thanks to Tyson settlement

Posing with the new truck are, from left, J. Kincade and Assistant Chief Bart Absher of the Hanceville Fire Department; James Fields, a member of the Restitution Fund Oversight Committee; Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail; Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, who serves on the Restitution Fund Oversight Committee; Rob Werner, a member of the Restitution Fund Oversight Committee; and Ed Poolos, deputy commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who serves as chairman of the Restitution Fund Oversight Committee. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – On Tuesday, Nov. 1, community and state leaders unveiled a valuable asset to the Hanceville Fire Department: a new truck to be used for medical response in Cullman County’s growing municipality. The new truck will be vital in faster response times for assisting citizens in need when the department is handling multiple calls. The truck, equipped with an automatic chest compression machine and other critical medical equipment, was provided thanks to funds from the Tyson Foods settlement. 

“We only had one rescue truck, and this serves as an additional rescue truck,” Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail said. “Sometimes we have two or even three calls simultaneously. Those areas along the rivers, we work those areas, and a lot of people live there. That’s our coverage area. We appreciate the attorney general and the committee thinking about us and helping us out. We’re thankful on behalf of all of the people in our community who will be served by this new rescue truck.” 

The Tyson Foods facility in Hanceville in 2019 discharged illegal wastewater into the Black Warrior River resulting in its damaged ecosystem and the death of approximately 175,000 fish. A lawful on behalf of the State of Alabama was filed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall against Tyson for violation of the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act and the Environmental Management Act. 

After the $3 million settlement for one of the largest fish kills in the state, Marshall formed the Restitution Fund Oversight Committee, which is tasked with project selection and oversight for the settlement. Criteria for funds include projects which provide recreational opportunities, highlight the state’s natural resources and benefit the impacted areas’ public and environment health. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Ed Poolos is the committee’s chairman. 

Restitution Fund Oversight Committee member Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, shared, “This is what I call Montgomery money. It’s not the taxpayers here who paid for this. It’s a different way for us to fund them. This is a way to draw money into this municipality to help the City deliver a crucial service with the funds provided to us by the attorney general. This is a way we can support and help the citizens right here who were affected by the tragic accident that occurred. I want to thank Attorney General Steve Marshall for putting me on the committee and entrusting us with providing the people of Hanceville with their share of the settlement.” 

Rev. James Fields, another member of the committee, commented, “Hanceville is a city that’s always taken care of its citizens, and this gives them another way to assist people. This is an added blessing to all of us in this area. Sometimes we’re forgotten, but we’re thankful the attorney general saw fit to appoint us to this committee to make sure we fairly divide the money where it is most needed. Hanceville responds to people all over this area, even where I live in the community of Colony, because that’s what people here do. They give of themselves. This is just another way to help them do that.” 

Previous projects funded by the settlement in Colony, Garden City and the Forks of the River near Sipsey were announced earlier this year. 

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