Navigant Credit Union backs purchase of new East Providence Fire rescue boat

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EAST PROVIDENCE — In a show of good corporate citizenship, Navigant Credit Union recently donated the funds necessary for the East Providence Fire Department to purchase a new rescue boat.

Representatives of the two entities displayed the vessel Friday afternoon, Dec. 6, at the Navigant branch located on Willett Avenue in the Riverside section of the city.

The boat, a 14-foot Rescue 1 inflatable model, came with a price tag north of $3,000, according to EPFD Chief Oscar Elmasian. It replaces a 1995 Zodiac model in use for the past 18 years, but has been disabled for the past 18 months, the chief said.

"Navigant Credit Union was generous enough to donate the boat to us. It'll will be used mostly on closed bodies of water like the Turner Reservoir, Omega Pond and Willett Pond, but it can also be used in open bodies of water," explained Chief Elmasian, who accepted the donation on behalf of the city Friday along with City Council President  and Mayor Jim Briden and At-Large Councilor Tracy Capobianco.

"It fills a great need for the department," the chief continued. "And especially in these still difficult economic times, we're very fortunate a business like Navigant offered to work with us and donate a piece of equipment we need to perform everyday operations."

The boat will take up residence at Station 3 on North Broadway in Rumford, but the chief stressed it will be available to all sections of the city. Station 3 Lieutenant Carl LaPietra joined Chief Elmasian at the public unveiling Friday.

Navigant, based in Smithfield and familiar to many as the former Central Falls Credit Union, was represented Friday by its president and Chief Executive Officer Gary Furtado, vice president and regional manager Kathy Marabello and executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Dandeneau. Mr. Furtado accepted a proclamation from Mr. Briden expressing East Providence's gratitude for the gesture.

Said Mr. Furtado about offering the donation, "We have two branches in East Providence, one here in Riverside and the other in Rumford (Newport Avenue). We like to say East Providence has been very good to us, so we're just trying to give back to the community. We approached the department and asked 'what do you need?' and they came up with this idea. We're just trying to be good citizens, trying to give back."

The vessel will be put into service immediately, according to the Chief, who added much of the equipment used on the old boat, including the 25 horsepower Yamaha outboard motor, will transfer to the new one.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.