Weston Township, (WTOL) - "It was a hard day and it's been hard days since then," said Fire Chief Justin Selders, Weston Township Fire Department. "It's hard to talk about."
It's a scene etched into the minds of first responders in Weston Township. The day two teen brothers, on their way to a dentist appointment, lost their lives in a car accident.
Now they are using that tragedy to become better for their community. It's something Fire Chief Justin Selders never thought would happen in his small town.
But tragedy struck on March 21st when Xavier and Aiden Wensink were found inside a flipped car submerged in water near Sand Ridge Road. Justin and his firefighters have no water rescue equipment or training and had to call for help to the closest available team who were 20 minutes away.
"Those 20 minutes seemed like twenty years," said Chief Selders. "It just took forever. You call them on the radio and I knew they were coming, they told me on the radio they were coming, but until they got there it was just the most helpless feeling I've ever had."
Losing the 17 and 14-year-old brothers hit the entire community hard.
"It was a very tragic scene and unfortunately sometimes it takes tragedy to better yourselves and we now know we need to get the equipment," explained
Chief Selders doesn't want to ever be in that position again, so he went to his council asking for funds to get water rescue equipment and training. They approved the funds for two Engine Company kits. It's something residents are grateful for.
"That's a huge step for our community and one that I am very proud of," said Allyson Selders, a resident of Weston and volunteer EMT.
"We never thought it could happen and it might not happen again for 20 years, but knowing that we have the resources that we need in order to act on it ourselves is going to help out a lot."
The two water rescue kits will cost about $7,000 for Weston Township and they should be ready to go on their fire trucks in just a few months.
Chief Selders said he is planning to work with other water rescue departments to help train his team of firefighters after the kits are delivered.
"Us moving forward is, I'm not going to say it's closure because it's hard and it's still going to be hard for a long time, but it's going to help us get through this process," said Chief Justin Selders.
Volunteer Firefighters in Weston are ready and willing to put in the extra time to make sure they're able to better protect and serve into the future.