LCRA, PEC award $19,643 grant to Cassie VFD for new rescue boat

Firefighters will be able to conduct swift-water rescues, fight lakeside fires from the water

June 4, 2019

​​​​​Local Communities
LCRA and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives present a $19,643 grant to the Cassie Volunteer Fire Department for a new rescue boat. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Bill Pennington, assistant fire chief; George Sanchez, firefighter; Michael L. “Mike” Allen, LCRA Board member; Nancy Eckert Yeary, LCRA Board member; Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager; George W. Russell, LCRA Board member; Caroline Tinsley Porter, PEC community relations coordinator; Joshua Nugent, firefighter; Nancy Nehring, secretary; Chris Kelley, firefighter; Ben Schneider, ESD commissioner; Jayden Foster, Earl Foster’s grandson; Derrick Curtis, fire chief; Ed Schaefer, safety officer; Laura Schneider, firefighter; Jim Luther, Jr., Burnet County commissioner; Roxanne Nelson, Burnet County justice of the peace; Leslie Ray, Burnet County constable; Chuck Schoenfeld, firefighter; Doug Shields, firefighter; Earl Foster, Lakeway Municipal Utility District general manager and CDPP review committee member; and Susan Patten, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.

BURNET, Texas – Cassie Volunteer Fire Department/Burnet County ESD #2 soon will purchase a new fire rescue boat thanks to a $19,643 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $26,643 in matching contributions, will enhance the department’s abilities to respond to emergencies near the water. When calls for services that require a boat come in, the department now has to request mutual aid from nearby departments or the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The new boat will allow the department to respond immediately to calls.

Cassie VFD Fire Chief Derrick Curtis says the new fire rescue boat will greatly enhance emergency response services on Inks Lake and the southeast section of Lake Buchanan. Cassie VFD is one of four volunteer fire departments providing emergency response services on Lake Buchanan and one of three on Inks Lake. Between the five departments, there currently are two rescue boats.

“Burnet County is highly susceptible to flash flooding, and when it happens, we’re on the front lines,” Curtis said. “This rescue boat is vital to our mission to protect the lives of Burnet County citizens and visitors, and thanks to LCRA and PEC, we’re able to purchase the boat, train with it and deploy it much sooner than we would have been able to otherwise. It absolutely will save lives.”

Cassie VFD has four trained swift-water rescue technicians and a trained swift-water rescue boat operator.

“As water managers in Flash Flood Alley, we are well aware of how quickly flash flooding can occur,” said Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager. “First responders can’t always get to the site of an emergency by land, and this new rescue boat will let Cassie firefighters respond quickly, without having to wait for help from other departments. We are pleased the CDPP grant could help add another rescue boat to the area help enhance public safety.’’

The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which 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. Pedernales 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 1-31. 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; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas 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

Media Contact
Clara Tuma