Kempner Volunteer Fire Department receives grant
By PAMELA GRANT
The Kempner Volunteer Fire Department was able to purchase new equipment thanks to the $25,000 grant check presented to them by LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority).
On Tuesday afternoon, representatives from LCRA and PEC (Pedernales Electric Cooperative) presented the check to members of the fire department. The grant, along with $16,680 in local matching funds, was used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) refill equipment. The device is used to refill air tanks which will be used by the firefighters on the job, providing them with clean air when needed. Previously, the firefighters had to take their empty tanks to another town to be refilled.
Dewey Owen, Chief of the Kempner Volunteer Fire Department, said the department first had the idea to buy the device in 2016. They held several auctions to raise money for it, but it would have taken them a lot longer to get enough money. Fortunately, after applying for and being awarded the grant, the department had more than enough money to buy the fill station.
“Words can’t tell how I feel. We’re always looking for help…We were very fortunate to the grant,” said Owen. “Our main goal is to protect the lives and property of the people in the community. This is going to be a good tool to help us accomplish that.”
The grant is one of many grants awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. LCRA is known for providing services to Texans such as managing the water supply and environment of the lower Colorado River basin, providing public recreation areas, and supporting community development. They provide assistance to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, and more in their electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.
“We are happy to be able to support our local communities by enabling [the Fire Department] to get the equipment necessary,” said Lori Berger, the Director for LCRA. “It’s only because of our partnership with PEC that projects like this can be funded.”
PEC is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
“PEC believes in supporting organizations that support the community, and what better way can we support the community than by supporting the Fire Department,” said Celeste Mikeska, Community Engagement Representative for PEC.