The Vanderpool Volunteer Fire Department is getting a new rescue vehicle, thanks to a $16,512 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with more than $4,100 in matching funds, allows the fire department to purchase a high-water/off-road vehicle capable of fording up to 30 inches of water and navigating muddy terrain with ease.
"Our service area is prone to flash flooding," said Al Buckner, chief of the Vanderpool VFD. "In emergencies, accessibility and evacuations are precarious."
Buckner said the department's current vehicles are lighter weight, and can easily get bogged down in muddy terrain. He said they are difficult to operate in the backcountry and low-water crossings in the department's service area.
For example, he said Camp Lonehollow, a popular summer camp in the area, can have 300 to 400 kids on the grounds at any one time.
"The camp is only accessible via a low-water crossing, so during floods, it is difficult to rescue any campers and staffers who become stranded," Buckner said. "On one occasion, the only option to evacuate them was via a tractor-trailer. Our new high-water rescue vehicle will allow us to get to the scene more quickly and rescue a larger number of people at once."
Vanderpool VFD's service area is 138 square miles. Although the fire department primarily serves portions of Bandera and Real counties, it has mutual aid agreements with the fire departments that serve Utopia, Medina and Tarpley. The fire department also serves Lost Maples State Natural Area, which has about 140,000 visitors per year.
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. Bandera 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 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 lcra.org.