Good deed in Aquinnah: New truck comes via Florida foundation

Utility vehicle makes beach rescues possible.

The new Aquinnah Polaris Ranger 800 UTV with, from left, Murray Bros. Caddy Shack Owner Andy Murray, Aquinnah PD Sargeant Paul Manning and Murray Bros. Caddy Shack Owner Mac Haskell. – Photo courtesy of Aquinnah Police Department — Photo courtesy of Aquinnah Polic

There was a celebration at the firehouse in Aquinnah last Wednesday morning. Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and Murray Bros. Caddyshack joined together to donate a UTV (utility vehicle) worth more than $13,000 to the Aquinnah Police Department. Now, if someone is in distress on the beach from, say, a shark attack (just kidding! That would never happen here) or a heart attack, or heatstroke, the police can reach him or her in their new UTV. The vehicle is very snazzy, with a Stokes basket on the back, and it greatly improves the chances of getting hurt people off the beach in a timely way. It has already been used once, two weeks ago, for someone with heatstroke.

Murray Bros. Caddyshack is a restaurant in Florida which hosts an annual golf tournament that raises funds for charities, including Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. You may recognize some of the people involved with Murray Bros., including Aquinnah fishing aficionado Mac Haskell and brothers Bill and Andy Murray. A while back, Mac asked Sergeant Paul Manning of the Aquinnah Police Department to think about what the department needed. Paul said the ability to access the beach in an emergency instantly came to mind. Mac then contacted Robin Peters, executive director of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, to partner on getting Aquinnah the equipment it needed. The foundation is a nonprofit in its 10th year that provides funding for lifesaving equipment and educational opportunities for first responders and public safety organizations. Since its inception, the foundation has given away $14 million to departments across 43 states. The foundation was created by the restaurant chain Firehouse Subs, based in Jacksonville, Fla. This is one of the more remarkable things about this donation to me — that a foundation in Florida would help a small town in Massachusetts purchase something that is much needed; I find that heartwarming. Of course, Mac and the Murray brothers have strong ties to Aquinnah. Mac (who winters in Florida) says that he considers Aquinnah more of a home than Florida, and he spends as much time fishing here as he can. I joked that the real reason he initiated this donation was so that the police could get him to safety if he ever had a medical emergency while fishing on Dogfish Bar. He laughed, but I’m not sure he found it that funny.

Many people were on hand to hear the story of how the Police Department received this vehicle, including Robin Peters and Meg Rose of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, Mac Haskell, Andy Murray, Bill Murray, and Christopher Seally of Murray Bros. Caddyshack, Police Chief Randy Belain, and Sergeant Paul Manning and Paul’s family. It was a very hot morning to gather on the asphalt in front of the firehouse, but well worth it.