Officials from Polk County Fire District No.1 recently learned that they were named as beneficiaries in the last Will of Mark and Mildred Laudahl. The Will leaves money to the District to be used for capital improvements to its fire stations.
"The Laudahls were great people," said Firefighter and Paramedic Jennifer Wagner who has known the Laudahls since she was a child. "This doosn't surprise me. As they aged and we responded to their home more and more, they would teII us how appreciative they were and that when they were gone they would take care of us."
Mark Laudahl passed away in July of 2011 and Mildred passed in March of 2013.
''The Laudahls meant a lot to our crews and we' re all extremely grateful and humbled by this," said Polk County Fire District No.1 Fire Chief John Stein. "Due to our budget constraints it has been years since any improvements have been made to our stations."
Despite the gift, which the District expects to be approximately $650,000, Stein was careful to explain that it will not have an impact on the upcoming bond or levy the Fire District is pursuing.
"The bond and levy are essential to our ability to continue providing the current services our patrons now receive. Money from the Laudahls can only be spent on station capital improvements, that was their wish so that's what we're obligated to do both ethically and legally."
Along with updates that Stein says have been put off for years, the District hopes to improve its training facility.
"We want to outfit the training area in a way that makes our people better at what they do and benefits the community," explained Stein.
There are still various legal hurdles facing the District before they are able to receive money from the Laudahl estate. The final amount will be determined by a judge but officials are confident they will receive the gift eventually.