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Horseshoe Bay residents thank volunteer firefighters with new fund

Firefighters take a break after battling The Trails Fire in August

Firefighters spent several days on the scene of The Trails fire in Horseshoe Bay in August. Residents set up a fund to support the local volunteer fire departments that battled the blaze. Photo by Stennis Shotts

Horseshoe Bay residents have established a fund to support volunteer fire departments that helped battle the Trails Fire, which scorched 400 acres and destroyed one home in August.

Jan Burrow and Dick Nelson are co-chairing the Special Fund for Highland Lakes Volunteer Fire Departments, which is collecting money now through Sept. 30. A donor has agreed to match up to $25,000.

“These guys and gals are crazy,” Nelson said about the firefighters with an admiring grin. “They wear 80 pounds of equipment, and they love doing it. They leave their jobs, and some may lose the pay of the jobs they have. They’re unsung heroes, and we decided we must do something.”

On Aug. 13, a wildfire erupted west of the city in The Trails of Horseshoe Bay and Blue Lake communities. Twenty-one Highland Lakes fire departments, including 17 volunteer departments, worked to put out the blaze.

Funds raised by residents will be distributed to Highland Lakes volunteer departments for education, training, equipment, and other needs.

“We knew we had to do something for them,” Nelson said. “We want to do whatever we can do to help raise money to replenish equipment, lost tires. Some don’t have the money to have safety equipment. We’re trying to replace the coffers and let them know we appreciate them.” 

Many volunteer fire departments canceled fundraisers this year due to COVID-19, which cut into their budgets. 

Donations for the special fund can be made through the Community Resource Centers of Texas website. You also can mail checks payable to the CRC to 1016 Broadway, Marble Falls TX, 78654. In the memo line, write “Trails/Blue Lake fire,” so CRC staff will know where the money should go.

Donations also may be dropped off at the CRC office in Marble Falls at the above address during regular business hours or Horseshoe Bay City Hall, #1 Community Drive in Horseshoe Bay.

Organizers will begin dispersing the funds to the fire departments in October. 

“Every dollar will go directly to the volunteer fire departments,” Nelson said. “This is a Highland Lakes project. We decided we wanted to go broad and deep because of the needs of the volunteer fire departments.”