Plans are underway to configure a new brush truck for the Waelder Volunteer Fire Department with a $38,778 community development grant from Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Waelder. The brush truck will provide the tactical functions and reliability the department needs to safely and quickly respond to emergencies in Gonzales County.
The fire department will provide approximately $10,000 in matching funds to help customize its new rig with advanced technologies such as LED emergency lights and bumper sprayers.
Waelder Volunteer Fire Department Chief Phillip Ramirez says he is looking forward to having a dependable vehicle for his team of volunteer firefighters.
"We've been having problems with keeping one of our vehicles running," Ramirez said. "We're spending so much money on maintenance, and that just isn't working for us. We'll fix one problem and another problem will act up. We want a reliable truck that we won't have to worry about breaking down or not starting."
When one of the fire department's trucks isn't working, volunteers have to drive their personal vehicles to incidents, which can slow response times. Most of department's emergency calls are for vehicle accidents on Highway 90 and Interstate 10, but during the summer firefighters also respond to a fair number of fires.
A brush truck can help firefighters get to remote or rural locations more quickly and safely.
"This opportunity allows us to better serve our community and provides a chance to incorporate more technology into our day-to-day duties to become more efficient in our work," Ramirez said.
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. The City of Waelder 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 Jan. 1-31, 2019. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing 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