LCRA awards $24,000 grant to Deanville Volunteer Fire Department - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community LCRA awards $24,000 grant to Deanville Volunteer Fire Department - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community


LCRA awards $24,000 grant to Deanville Volunteer Fire Department

New helipad will provide a safe, designated landing zone for emergency air medical services

Nov. 3, 2022

LCRA representatives present a $24,000 grant to the Deanville Volunteer Fire Department for construction of a helipad. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Keith Schroeder, Burleson County judge; Duane Strange, Burleson County emergency management coordinator; John Smith and Jeff Baldwin, Deanville VFD members; Bill Colley, fire chief; Chris Smith, Barbara Smith and Lisa Smith, Deanville VFD members; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Keith Ahrens, Deanville VFD secretary and assistant fire chief; Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Lonny Supak, Deanville VFD president; Dwayne Faust, Burleson County commissioner, Precinct 1; and Jessica Muzny, Deanville VFD treasurer.
BURLESON COUNTY, Texas – A $24,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Deanville Volunteer Fire Department construct a helipad in the open field behind the Deanville fire station.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $11,900 in matching funds from the department, will allow Deanville VFD to build a 40-by-40-foot concrete landing zone that will be available for emergency access 24/7.

“Our fire station is the central location for emergency helicopter landings in our area,” said Keith Ahrens, assistant fire chief. “On average, we have about 12 emergency landing zone calls per year, which is why it is crucial for us to have a safe, designated spot for landings.”

Ahrens said firefighters have occasionally had to shut down highways to establish a stable landing zone, as nearby pastures tend to have insufficient lighting, uneven and wet ground, trees, and many other hazards.

“Fire departments are responsible for establishing a safe landing zone,” Ahrens said. “Highways have been our best option, but they still can create unsafe conditions for the flight crew, patients and first responders. Having access to a helipad will eliminate many of these risks.”

Deanville VFD serves about 3,000 residents in an area covering 105 square miles, including 10 miles of state Highway 21 and about 15 miles of Farm-to-Market Road 60 toward Lake Somerville.

“Receiving this grant allows us to get started much sooner than we otherwise would have on this project, but it would not have been possible at all without our former firefighter and department president Raymond Smith,” Ahrens said. “RJ served as our president for 37 years and passed away in January. He was the one who started our grant application and was determined to get this project completed. His dedication to our department and those we serve was unwavering, which is why we want to honor him with this project.”

The community grant is one of 46 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 lcra.org/cdpp.

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. For more information, visit lcra.org.

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