LCRA awards $25,000 grant to Kenedy VFD for new specialized radios

Aging equipment will be replaced with higher-capability models

Nov. 13, 2023

Representatives from the Lower Colorado River Authority present a $25,000 grant for new radios to the Kenedy Volunteer Fire Department. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Juan Bryan, fire chief; Dustin Aranda, assistant fire chief; and Justin Garcia, captain.

KENEDY, Texas – The Kenedy Volunteer Fire Department will buy new radios to aid firefighters in responding to the growing number of emergency calls in the community, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with about $6,750 in matching funds from the department, will allow Kenedy VFD to replace aging communication equipment with portable radios for field personnel and mobile radios for emergency response vehicles. Kenedy VFD typically responds to about 110 to 130 calls per year, including gas leaks, motor vehicle collisions, vehicle fires, search-and-rescue missions, structure fires, traffic control, and gas or carbon monoxide alarms, said Kenedy VFD Captain Justin Garcia. “Over the past eight to 10 years, our city has grown, which means the department needs to also grow to keep up with the demand of the city and county,” Garcia said. “With more people coming in, more land in the county is being cleared out, and we were seeing more and more wildfires. Here in south central Texas, we go through some hard droughts, so we run into quite a few grass fires each year.” Garcia said two incidents in 2022 illustrated the need for more radios with higher capabilities.   In one incident, the lack of radios contributed to a delay in notifying the engine and pumper crew that fire hydrants were not able to supply water to responding apparatuses. The crews near the hydrant had to walk a long distance to inform fellow responders of the issue, Garcia said. In another situation, a firefighter had to combat a rapidly growing wildfire alone because the lack of radios kept the department from reallocating additional firefighters who were in the midst of battling a structure fire. “We have had some situations where the lack of radios cost us several important minutes while getting a task done, so we feel being able to get a few more radios in key task areas on a scene will let us relay vital information back to the officer in charge or person running the pump in a timely manner,” Garcia said. Additionally, as the department responds to more emergencies as part of mutual aid agreements with neighboring counties, firefighters have learned much of their current communications equipment is not compatible with that of other agencies. The new radios will address that issue. Garcia said the department’s radio inventory has steadily declined over recent years and now is down to three radios from six. During large-scale events, the equipment can fail due to older drained batteries that are difficult to replace. The community grant is one of 45 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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