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A Different Kind of Mutual Aid

When Defiance County emergency services call for mutual aid, help comes from neighboring counties. The mutual aid might always be there too – built into emergency vehicles. 

Defiance City recently purchased a new 100-foot aerial ladder truck, which will be delivered as early as February 2024. The Sutphen fire truck has parts made in neighboring Paulding County. 

"InSource makes wiring harnesses for Sutphen," explained Larry Manz, director of sales and marketing for InSource. "We have customers in the industry that could have other products on it including electronic controls and wiring harnesses."

Erika Willitzer, executive director of Defiance County Economic Development, said she knew what InSource produced but didn’t realize “the City of Defiance was purchasing a fire truck that included the components they created. That’s super cool, when you find out how the inner workings of supply chains impact us on a local level,” she said. 

Manz said InSource employees are "excited to see products built here and used locally. One of our employees found an article that Defiance was buying this Sutphen truck," he stated.  "He shared it with me .... We all share in the excitement."

The company has been making products for the safety industry since 2009. Tim Copsey, director of Paulding County Economic Development, noted that other companies in Paulding County also make parts for emergency vehicles. One example is Paragon Tempered Glass in Antwerp that fabricates and tempers glass -- mostly rear seat and cabin compartment exterior windows -- for first responder vehicles. 

"We are extremely blessed to have manufacturers based in Paulding County that develop and manufacture components for end-use products that protect our own and other communities," Copsey beamed.  "Paulding County, itself, doesn't even understand how many products we produce here that are used in everyday life and used in high-end products and name-brand businesses. R&B Fabrications in Charloe makes the first responder bags that have a lifetime warranty and are used in fire stations and by EMS teams all over the world."

(Pictured: The cab of the new Defiance Fire Department 100 foot aerial ladder truck at the Sutphen facility in Hilliard, Ohio. The finished product will include components made by InSource Technologies of Paulding.)

There is a great reason to take pride in what is made in the county and its use. Copsey hopes county students learn about what is offered and stay or come back to work in the area. “The more you understand your own backyard, the better the chance of you being proud of what we have to offer,” Copsey said. 

Manz said it is great that so many businesses worked together to make pieces of safety equipment. "Our Northwest Ohio region has many products that are essential to the safety and well-being of our nation," he pointed out. "InSource is thankful to build products that are useful to mankind."

Willitzer pointed out that it says a lot about the region that so many businesses are intertwined to make the fire truck. “Defiance and Paulding counties may be defined as rural, but our local companies are making products on a national/global basis,” she stressed. “And, most importantly, we support another, which ultimately makes us stronger.” 

Copsey said the region strives to strengthen its bonds through business and industries and this is just one example. 

“The economic development directors from around the Indiana and Ohio region continue to meet to discuss how if the region wins, our local counties win,” he emphasized. “It is critical for that communication to continue to strengthen the region, and thus local economy. It doesn’t take many of these meetings, and discussion of the products our counties provide, to realize how intertwined we all are and that many businesses are dependent upon products made in the region to make a finished product that can be sold for the betterment of all.”


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