ANKENY, IOWA — A former DMACC student helped facilitate a big donation to her alma mater on Tuesday. The school accepted the gift of a used ladder truck for its Fire Science Program from the City of Pleasant Hill and their fire chief, Jamie Xayavong.

Pleasant Hill recently purchased a new ladder truck. Rather than sell off the old one to a smaller department, they instead made a gift of the truck. A new ladder truck carries a cost of around $1.6 million. The donation saves DMACC from having to spend it while still supplying their students with a one-of-a-kind training tool.

Xayavong says it is rare for fire cadets to get training on a ladder truck. Most have to wait until they are hired for their first jobs to get real-life experience on the trucks. “This is good for everyone involved,’ Xayavong said during the announcement ceremony on Tuesday, “DMACC fire science students will train on a unique piece of equipment while all of the metro fire departments will interview graduates with a more well-rounded training experience.”

“This is an amazing addition to our fire science program,” DMACC Fire Science Chair Brent Conklin said, “While we have in-class instruction, hands on learning is a crucial part of our program.”

DMACC President Rob Denson says he personally test drove the 50-foot long truck himself before accepting the gift.