Trending Topics

91-year-old donates $500K to rural Mo. fire department

Sam Sloan donated the money to the Calhoun Volunteer Fire Department to help make improvements

By Bill Carey

CALHOUN, Mo. — A 91-year-old Missouri man recently contributed a substantial sum of $500,000 to a rural volunteer fire department.

Mark Hardin, who became the chief of the Calhoun Volunteer Fire Department in 2021, injected pride and community spirit into the role. Initially, the department comprised only himself, with outdated equipment and inoperative trucks, WITN reported.

“It needed a lot of work,” Hardin said

Hardin reached out to the community, organizing training and expanding his team to 28 members. Despite their efforts, financial constraints limited their progress — until a significant donation changed their fortunes.

Sam Sloan, 91, has been a Henry County resident since 1960 and a long-time community supporter.

“It’s half a million dollars, and that’s a pretty good donation,” Sloan said.

“Never in a million years would I ever expect anything like that for a rural fire department,” Hardin said.

Sloan explained that while he might not know how to repair the equipment, he understands how to generate funds.

“I know how to make a dollar and there’s a difference there,” he said.

The department plans to pass on its old gear to other rural volunteer departments that need assistance.

Budgeting & Fundraising Resources
82% of U.S. fire departments are all or mostly volunteer and, often, their funding depends on people stepping up to help