LCRA awards $39,780 grant to Blanket Volunteer Fire Fighters Association

Expansion will complete fire station, create space for training sessions

LCRA representatives present a $39,780 grant to the Blanket Volunteer Fire Fighters Association for completion of an addition to the fire station. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Augustine Lopez, captain; Wayne Shaw, Brown County commissioner, Precinct 3; Michael L. “Mike” Allen and Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board members; Robert Rodgers, fire chief; and Cooper Hogg, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.
BROWN COUNTY, Texas – The Blanket Volunteer Fire Fighters Association will complete a much-needed fire station expansion with the help of a $39,780 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $15,000 in matching funds from the association, will enable the group to add a meeting room, bathrooms and air conditioning at the fire station. When complete, the new area will be available for firefighter training, as well as for use as an emergency shelter.

Community donations paid for the association’s recently completed truck bay, but progress on the station’s meeting room and bathrooms went stagnant when construction material prices skyrocketed in recent years.

“Our initial estimate was $150,000 to construct the entire fire station and these additional spaces, but once we finished the truck bay, the quote for the meeting room and bathrooms alone had jumped to $100,000,” said Fire Chief Robert Rodgers of the Blanket Volunteer Fire Fighters Association. “We could have completed the work, but it would have put our bank account at zero and you can’t do that as a fire department.”

Members of the volunteer association currently commute to Brownwood Fire Department to use the training space there.

“If I need to have a meeting here at 7 p.m. in July, it’s going to be 98 degrees in our building, which makes it hard to concentrate and communicate,” Rodgers said. “We are also completely without bathrooms, which makes trainings and workdays difficult for our volunteers. We have to drive to a neighboring store to use their bathrooms.”

LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson applauded the Blanket Volunteer Fire Fighters Association’s commitment to providing high-quality emergency resources to the community.

“First responders sacrifice a great deal in order to help keep their communities safe,” Wilson said. “The community has fully supported the new station, and I’m delighted LCRA is able to help make it a fully equipped station with a training room and emergency shelter. Training together is important, and we are proud to help provide a comfortable air-conditioned space where first responders can come together to learn and connect.”

Rodgers said grant funds will help the department complete the 10-year construction project, including installing drywall, plumbing and bathroom fixtures, and storage cabinets. The renovations also will include Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features.

“Once we have air conditioning, we’ll be able to invite neighboring departments to do training with us and even run exercises in this space,” Rodgers said. “We won’t be dripping sweat onto our paperwork anymore.”

The association also plans to install a sink and oven that will be helpful in hosting fundraisers and will enable the building to serve as an emergency shelter.

“We’ve had to push the building progress back multiple times,” Rodgers said. “I’ve had to say, ‘the building doesn’t put out fires, so we’re going to have to fix this truck instead.’ I’m not going to have to say that to our volunteers again, which will be a huge relief.”

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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