The keys to a new $180,000 state-of-the-art mobile command center will be handed to Governor Paul R. LePage on Saturday, January 29 in Lewiston.
Anne and Gil Blais, founders of La Boit Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, are donating the mobile command center to their native State of Maine. They will hand the keys to Governor LePage and Fire Marshal John Dean at 10:30 a.m. at Lewiston Central Fire Station, Two College Street, Lewiston.
“On behalf of the people of Maine, I express great appreciation for the generosity of Anne and Gil Blais,” said Governor LePage. “Their donation of a mobile command center makes it possible for our first responders and investigators to do more of their work on site. Managing events where they occur can make officials more responsive and accurate in times of need.”
The vehicle will enable the Fire Marshal’s Office to better serve Maine’s residents during a time when states are required to do more with less. The unit will facilitate investigations of fires and explosions, as well as other administrative tasks.
The command center, which is 33 feet long and 11-and-a-half feet tall, has a conference room, four work stations, kitchen galley, bathroom and air conditioning. It is powered by a diesel engine and has a large diesel generator. The command center will also have a large, retractable awning.
“This is a vehicle that we could never afford, but it is one that will get plenty of use,” said Fire Marshal Dean. “I have never expected to experience this level of generosity in my career. We are also very grateful for the hospitality by the Lewiston Fire Department in hosting Saturday’s event. We work with the Lewiston Fire and Police Departments on a regular basis, so we are pleased that we are able to share this great event with them.”
Lewiston Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert Sr. praised Mr. and Mrs. Blais for the donation. “We are very proud that this generous donation will be celebrated here in the All-America City of Lewiston, as the entrepreneurial spirit of Mr. and Mrs. Blais goes hand in hand with the civic engagement we experience in Lewiston,” Gilbert said. “We thank them for remembering their native state, and it is very reassuring to know that the State Fire Marshal’s Office will have this exemplary mobile command unit at its disposal.”
The mobile unit was manufactured by La Boit, Inc., the Blais’s company which is known worldwide for “redefining the mobile industry.” La Boit has a long history of manufacturing various types of vehicles that have aided in California’s wild fires, the World Trade Center disaster and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Their vehicles are used in all 50 states, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Dubai and Europe. Every La Boit vehicle is hand built from the chassis up, and attention to detail, quality and safety are La Boit’s number-one concern for every vehicle that pulls out of its lot.
La Boit’s history began when Gil Blais was working selling supplies to veterinarians. Noting that mobile veterinarians worked out of cardboard boxes from the backs of their vehicles, he was inspired to design inserts to better accommodate their needs. The company was later born as Gil built his first coach in an industrial park warehouse unit that doubled as living space for his family.
There he designed, manufactured and marketed what has been called the “classic” line of SUV mobile inserts. Since then, La Boit has evolved into a business that designs and constructs vehicles to meet the mobile needs of veterinarians, dental and medical clinics and law enforcement.
Lewiston Fire Chief Paul LeClair looks forward to Saturday’s festivities. “The Lewiston Fire Department is pleased to host this very special event,” he said. “The La Boit company donation will greatly enhance the Fire Marshal’s Office’s outreach ability, something every community in Maine will benefit from.”