BURNET COUNTY, Texas – A $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative will help the East Lake Buchanan Volunteer Fire Department add a thermal imaging camera to its rescue boat, which operates on a large lake with a surface area of more than 22,000 acres.
The grant, along with matching funds of $10,761 from the fire department, also will allow the department to replace the inflatable tube that wraps around the 24-foot-long rescue boat’s rigid hull. The East Lake Buchanan VFD bought the 16-year-old boat about three years ago after it served the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Forest Service.
“We’re all happy for the support that LCRA and PEC are giving us,” said Capt. Nowell Maluski, president of the East Lake Buchanan VFD board. “With Lake Buchanan being such a big lake, we wanted a craft that we were comfortable putting rescuers in in any type of weather. Now we can replace that inflatable tube instead of having to wait and worry about a catastrophic event.”
Equally important, the addition of a thermal imaging camera will aid the department’s search-and-rescue efforts by allowing firefighters to locate someone in the water up to a half mile away.
“This particular unit will give us images based on the discrepancy between the water temperature and a human’s temperature reading,” Maluski said. “Sometimes, people go out in kayaks or boats at night and get into trouble. Many times, they can reach out by cell phone, but spotting them on the lake might not be very easy. If somebody’s out on the water and they’re not being found easily, this unit could help save a life.
“With these changes to our rescue boat, I feel like it will be able to deliver life-saving results over its life,” Maluski added.
The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently 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
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 fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit
About Pedernales Electric Cooperative
Founded in 1938 by then-Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson, PEC is a member-owned electric cooperative serving more than 325,000 accounts across Central Texas. An industry-recognized leader providing outstanding member service and reliable electricity, PEC conducts its business via a transparent and democratic process and highly encourages member participation.