LAKE PLACID - Three local organizations will receive a combined total of $50,000 in grant funding through the Ironman Foundation Community Fund.
The grants were announced Thursday in a press release issued by Patrick Albert, public relations coordinator for the World Triathlon Corporation, which owns and organizes Ironman triathlons worldwide.
The foundation awarded grants to the following organizations:
-The Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, to help pay for a Kioti Ultimate Transport Vehicle
-Adirondack Health, to support construction of a new sports medicine facility at the Uihlein Health Campus, the site of the current Uihlein Living Center nursing home
-The Uihlein Ironman Sports Fund to provide scholarships to local athletes trying to qualify for the Olympics.
Albert couldn't be reached on Thursday and the specific amount of each grant couldn't be determined.
Jim McKenna, president and CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism in Lake Placid, noted that the Ironman Foundation has contributed more than $1.5 million to the local community in the 14 years the race has come to this village.
The fire department has already purchased the UTV using funds its members raised, not village tax dollars. Officials with the Ironman Foundation will present a check for $5,000 to the fire department this evening during a ceremony at the North Elba Show Grounds.
Brad Jaques, the fire department's head driver, said the vehicle has already been put to use: It was sent to the scene of a forest fire in Ray Brook last week. It was purchased for $10,000 from Samples Lawn & Garden in Chazy; Jaques said that company was able to obtain government discount pricing on the vehicle.
Jaques said the new vehicle is a big upgrade for the department.
"It's more or less a two-person or side-by-side four-wheeler setup," he explained. "It's got an actual cargo box on it. This vehicle is a step up from what we had in the past for an all-terrain vehicle. The technology has advanced greatly."
The UTV has been equipped with a MEDLITE Transport kit, an aluminum patient-carrying rig that slides into the vehicle's bed.
"You can put a litter (on it), and a medical person can sit next to the litter to take care of the patient," Jaques said.
Village Trustee Zay Curtis thanked the foundation for contributing to the vehicle's purchase.
"It's a much-needed vehicle," he said.
Adirondack Health's new sports medicine facility is set to be built beside the nursing home. Earlier this year, the health care organization announced a major overhaul of that campus, including a plan to move its Lake Placid hospital there from its current location on the other side of Old Military Road.
"Adirondack Health is grateful for the support of the Ironman Foundation to help realize the vision for the Uihlein Living Center campus," spokesman Joe Riccio told the Enterprise.