LCRA, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op award $24,562 grant for emergency communication equipment

Grant will provide new handheld radios for Washington County volunteer fire departments

May 9, 2018

Representatives from LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative present a $24,562 grant to the Washington County Firefighters Association for handheld radios. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Kate Holman, LCRA Governmental Affairs representative; Robert Mikeska, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative board director; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; Don Koester, Washington County Precinct 1 commissioner; Michael Kmiec, Chappell Hill VFD fire chief; Doug Zwiener, Washington County Firefighter Association secretary and treasurer; Kirk Hanath, Washington County Precinct 3 commissioner; Ken Mutscher, Bluebonnet director; and Hondo Powell, Bluebonnet representative.

The Washington County Firefighters Association (WCFFA) soon will purchase new handheld radios for the volunteer fire departments and dispatch center in Washington County, thanks to a $24,562 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with more than $6,000 in matching funds, will allow WCFFA to purchase 19 new handheld radios. Each of Washington County's 10 volunteer fire departments will receive a radio and the dispatch center will receive several more for backup.

Doug Zwiener, WCFFA secretary and treasurer, said the radios are essential to communication during disasters. During recent floods and Hurricane Harvey, it became clear that the county volunteer fire departments did not have enough handheld radios.

"This grant will enhance emergency communications throughout the entire county and improve the safety of every volunteer fire department in our county," Zwiener said. "This project would not be possible without the cooperation of private, public and volunteer groups working together to protect our neighbors. LCRA continues to give back to our community, and we gratefully acknowledge its and Bluebonnet's support."

The volunteer fire departments in Washington County serve about 37,500 people and provide aid to surrounding counties. The WCFFA acts as an advisory board to county commissioners on fire matters such as burn bans, fireworks sales and emergency response.

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA's Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA's wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA's effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA's wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-July 31. More information is available at

About LCRA
​The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; ensuring a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40​ parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit

About Bluebonnet
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves nearly 95,000 meters and owns and maintains more than 11,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet's service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to  and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact
Clara Tuma