LCRA awards $20,000 grant to Kinney County Fire Rescue

New utility terrain vehicle will help first responders travel over rugged land during rescues, fire emergencies

LCRA representatives present a $20,000 grant to Kinney County Fire Rescue for a new utility terrain vehicle. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Philip Garcia, fire chief; John Paul Schuster, Kinney County judge and emergency management coordinator; Candy Hobbs, grant writer; Tim Ward, firefighter and Kinney County commissioner, Precinct 4; Michael L. “Mike” Allen, LCRA Board member; Ryan Frerich, fire rescue engineer; Alma Gutierrez, grant writer; and Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.
BRACKETTVILLE, Texas – Kinney County Fire Rescue soon will add a utility terrain vehicle to its fleet to help first responders during emergencies on ranchland and other rugged areas, thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The LCRA Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with about $5,000 in matching funds from Kinney County Fire Rescue, will allow the all-volunteer fire department to buy a new UTV to use for rescue, medical and fire emergencies.

“We have experienced an increase in calls to assist with vehicle accidents, in addition to wildfires and search-and-rescue operations,” said Philip Garcia, Kinney County Fire Rescue fire chief. “We have a lot of ranchland and rough terrain we can’t get into with a fire apparatus, and we will be able to use this UTV to bring in a portable sprayer to fight fires and also to help get people out of an area.”

Kinney County Fire Rescue’s service area spans about 1,400 square miles of rural South Texas with a population of about 3,000 people, according to Garcia.

“Getting these grants so we can buy the proper equipment to better serve the community is golden, and this UTV will give us the ability to get to people faster when they need help,” he said. “The UTV will be able to transport first responders, critical supplies and medical personnel, which is crucial with the closest hospitals being about 35 miles away in Del Rio or about 45 miles away in Uvalde.”

Additionally, the department provides mutual aid to Val Verde, Edwards and Maverick counties when they need help with fire or medical emergencies.

“We have 12 volunteers and average six people responding to each call day or night, and the majority of the calls we have been getting lately are for vehicle accidents involved in high-speed chases,” Garcia said. “These volunteers are dedicated men who are always ready to drop what they are doing to help their community – they are, without a doubt, the best crew I’ve ever worked with in my life.”

The volunteers’ desire to serve the community is what attracted Garcia to Kinney County Fire Rescue 12 years ago.

“Every one of these volunteers is part of the community they serve,” Garcia said. “When I moved to Brackettville, met the guys who volunteered here, saw how they worked and how everybody was like family, I wanted to be a part of it.”

The community grant is one of 44 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. 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 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.

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Clara Tuma, Public Information Officer
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