Lotto winner donates thermal imager to Fire District 2

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From Left to right: Association Vice President Brad Shumate, Association Treasurer, Larry Willis, Darla Sauer, Roger Sauer, Association President Monty Mattson, Association Member Charles Maloney.

Darla Sauer grew up in a household where her father, Lester Willis, responded regularly to calls for help from residents in the surrounding area.

“Association volunteers always saw the need and set out to fulfill it,” she said. “It wasn’t often, if ever, that my family sat down to a holiday meal where we actually finished it before the alarms went off, and my dad ran out the door to a fire or aid call. That was normal for our family.”

Sauer said her dad always wanted “one of those camera’s to aid in finding people in burning buildings, or to find people who may have been thrown from a vehicle in a crash.” Then, Darla and her husband, Roger, won millions of dollars in the Washington Lottery in 2012. She said they decided to “support the one organization that has given, and given, and given again to the Brady area.”

After approaching Larry Willis, deputy chief of the Fire District 2 Brady Station (and Darla’s brother), with the idea, a committee of five firefighters researched and chose to buy two “FLIR” brand thermal imaging cameras along with some accessories. A camera is now on each of the first-out engines at Brady and Central Park. The Sauers presented the association with a check for $10,000 to cover the cost.

“We cannot think of a better way to honor my dad, and the past, present, and future firefighters of District 2, than to give them a piece of equipment that can save lives,” she said.