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The Trails residents raise $100,000 for fire departments that battled blaze

The Trails residents raise $100,000 for fire departments

Horseshoe Bay Fire Chief Brent Batla (left) and fundraising co-chairs Jan Burrow and Dick Nelson (right) present a check to Cassie Volunteer Fire Department member Chuck Schoenfeld in appreciation for his department’s aid in putting out a fire that destroyed 400 acres in The Trails neighborhood Sept. 4. Courtesy photo

Seventeen fire departments split $100,000 raised as a thank-you to firefighters from residents whose homes were threatened by what has been dubbed The Trails Fire in Horseshoe Bay. The Sept. 4 brush fire grew to 400 acres in The Trails and Blue Lake communities. Local fire departments were able to contain the blaze and keep it from doing further damage. 

Horseshoe Bay Fire Chief Brent “Rocky” Batla distributed the checks Sept. 30 at City Hall. 

Most Highland Lakes firefighters are volunteers who must leave their jobs and families when a fire call goes out. The recent fire’s impact was staggering and relieved residents wanted to show their appreciation. 

The Community Resource Centers of Texas managed a web-based collection site and kept count as the money came in.  

An anonymous donor offered to match the first $25,000 raised. By September’s end, Donna Klaeger, director of Community Resource Centers of Texas exclaimed, “We made it!”  

The volunteer fire departments will use the money for more training and equipment. 

“Thanks to friends and neighbors and grateful area residents in and around the Highland Lakes, even friends in faraway places,” said Dick Nelson, co-chair of the fundraiser. 

“I heard from more than one departing volunteer, that our ‘thank you’ was felt in so many ways,” said Jan Burrows, the other co-chair. “A Virginia-based firefighter said, ‘Things truly are different in Texas!’ The good people in The Trails and others hope the funds to aid area volunteer fire departments express our appreciation in a way that’s unique to the Highland Lakes.”

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