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Valley Spring VFD gets LCRA grant for protective gear

Valley Spring Volunteer Fire Department grant

LCRA representatives present a $12,404 grant to the Valley Spring Volunteer Fire Department for new gear. Pictured are LCRA Regional Affairs representative Susan Patten, David Griffith of state Rep. Andrew Murr's office, VFD Second Assistant Chief Richard Castro, LCRA board member Margaret Voelter, firefighter Alan Powers, LCRA board member Michael Allen, VFD secretary and firefighter Kim Webb, LCRA board member Carol Freeman, VFD Chief Bo Morris, firefighter Ricky Baker, VFD treasurer and firefighter Tammy Baker, VFD First Assistant Chief Debra Vukelich, and firefighters Les Hartman and Cindy Powers. Courtesy photo

The Valley Spring Volunteer Fire Department can purchase new personal protective equipment for its firefighters thanks to a $12,404 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority. The LCRA announced the Community Development Partnership Program grant in a recent media release.

That money plus $3,100 in matching funds from the Llano County department will go toward fire boots, wildland shirts and pants, front helmet lights, and flashlights for its 12 firefighters as well as replace other out-of-date gear.

“I recently came from a larger department and started looking around thinking, ‘Hey, these guys need some new things,’” First Assistant Chief Debra Vukelich said in the media release. “They didn’t have any foot protection or boots at all.”

The helmet lights and flashlights will help during nighttime emergencies, and the wildland gear is better suited for the hot, summer fire season in Texas.

“The gear we have now is dual-compliant gear,” Vukelich said. “The guys say it’s just so hot, especially when it’s 110 degrees outside. So, I thought, let me find some gear that is lighter weight.”

Vukelich said the new gear is crucial for the first responders’ safety.

“This allows us to outfit our members with the necessary equipment they need to work safely,” she said. “It will ensure that our responders feel safe while they are conducting their emergency response duties, and the community will benefit from knowing that our crew can effectively perform critical tasks at any given point.”

Valley Spring VFD provides fire, rescue, and medical services to the community of Valley Spring along with mutual aid to other Llano County fire departments.

The community grant is one of 45 grants recently awarded through the LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders, and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in the river authority’s wholesale electric, water, and transmission service areas

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. Find out more online.