Tomahawk Police Department among WPS Foundation Rewarding Responders grant recipients


GREEN BAY – After surprising select first responders throughout the week, the Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Foundation officially awarded a total of $50,000 Friday, Aug. 30, to 27 agencies throughout northeast and north central Wisconsin. The awards are part of the foundation’s 2019 Rewarding Responders Grants.

The Tomahawk Police Department was among the grant recipients, receiving $2,000 for active shooter body armor kits. The Rhinelander Police Department was awarded $1,700 for streamlight flashlights and state gear, along with a T3 tactical auto rescue tool.

“These grants are a small way we are thanking the amazing police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders for keeping us safe every day,” said Beth Straka, vice president of the WPS Foundation. “We work hard to make sure our customers and employees are safe, and we know these grants will help first responders enhance the safety of our communities for years to come.”

The announcement marks the end of the WPS Foundation’s Rewarding Responders Week, a series of surprise visits to unveil some of this year’s grant recipients. Some of the vital safety items purchased as part of this year’s Rewarding Responders Grants include heavy-duty rescue saws, thermal imaging cameras, handheld rescue and safety tools, firefighting helmets and natural gas monitors.

WPS Foundation established the grant in 2014 to support emergency responders. Since its inception, more than $300,000 has been awarded to help approximately 170 agencies improve public safety in their communities.

“We plan our budget every year based on our needs, but grants oftentimes allow us to get that little bit above and beyond,” said Ron Lueneburg,  Rhinelander Police Department Captain, whose officers received new handheld rescue and safety tools through the grant. “The partnership that’s been developed between our law enforcement agency, the WPS Foundation and the WPS community has been very positive, and we appreciate that partnership.”

To be eligible for a Rewarding Responders Grant, emergency response agencies must operate in the WPS service area and demonstrate the equipment or training they will acquire is part of a well-planned effort to improve public safety. Grants also may be used to fund safety-related projects that are unique, one-time efforts.

More information about the Rewarding Responders Grant is available at

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