LCRA awards $39,200 grant to Valera Volunteer Fire Department - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community LCRA awards $39,200 grant to Valera Volunteer Fire Department - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community

LCRA awards $39,200 grant to Valera Volunteer Fire Department

New building will provide space for training and meetings, protection for firetruck and other equipment

May 19, 2022

An LCRA representative presents a $39,200 grant to the Valera Volunteer Fire Department for a new building for training and meetings. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Cooper Hogg, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Billy Bledsoe, Coleman County judge; Lee Bolen, firefighter; and Gary Barton, fire chief.

COLEMAN COUNTY, Texas – A $39,200 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Valera Volunteer Fire Department construct a new building for training and meetings, as well as provide a place to safely store a firetruck and other equipment for first responders. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $9,800 in matching funds from the department, will help the Valera VFD expand its station with new space to protect a firetruck and equipment from weather exposure and allow the department to conduct trainings and meetings on-site. In addition to providing a space to meet as a group and develop strategies for emergencies, the new space also will be available for other departments to use for training. “For the past 20 years, our department has been using the church to hold trainings and meetings,” said Gary Barton, fire chief of Valera VFD. “Due to numerous scheduling conflicts, we knew this addition would benefit us in more ways than one.” Barton said the addition also will provide a covered storage area for a recently acquired firetruck that now is stored under a shed at his house due to lack of space at the station. This will enable the department to better coordinate responses because all firetrucks and equipment will be stored safely in a central location. “We’ve been making do with what we have because we’ve had no other choice,” Barton said. “Without this grant, we would not have been able to add onto our fire station.” LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the additions to the fire station will play an important role in improving firefighter training. “With the addition, the entire department will be able to train together on-site, in the same room, at the same time,” Wilson said. “They also can meet together in the same place to strategize for emergencies and plan responses. I’m delighted LCRA can play a role in improving firefighter training, which in turn enhances public safety.” The new space will include a small kitchen and a bathroom to allow firefighters to shower before returning home after an emergency call. Valera VFD primarily serves the community of Valera and responds to other calls in Coleman County as needed. “We are a very rural department that relies on grants, donations and fundraisers,” Barton said. “You have no idea what this grant means to our department.” The community grant is one of 36 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 July. 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. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Clara Tuma
[email protected]