LCRA, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op award $15,654 grant to Washington Volunteer Fire Department

New personal protective equipment will help protect firefighters

Dec. 1, 2022

LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $15,654 grant to the Washington Volunteer Fire Department for new personal protective equipment. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: John Durrenberger, Washington County judge; Kyle Merten, Bluebonnet community and development services representative; Robert Mikeska, Bluebonnet director; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Clyde Miller, fire chief; Billy Ray Jensen, firefighter; Eric Dehmer, firefighter; Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; and Bill Kennedy, firefighter.
WASHINGTON, Texas – The Washington Volunteer Fire Department soon will purchase new personal protective equipment thanks to a $15,654 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $3,914 in matching funds from the department, will provide eight new sets of protective gear.

Washington VFD firefighters are using personal protective equipment that’s almost 13 years old, but best practices call for gear to be replaced every 10 years.

“It’s getting in bad shape,” Fire Chief Clyde Miller said. “Some of the sets have been worn quite a bit more than the other ones. The threads are getting worn, the pants are in poor condition and it’s way past time to replace them.”

The current gear has become inadequate to protect firefighters.

“Our equipment isn’t certified anymore,” Miller said. “We’ve been using it because it’s all we got. If we have good equipment to protect our people, we wouldn’t have to worry about them being hurt or in danger because they don’t have qualified gear.”

The grant will enable the department to replace the firefighting gear worn during house fires and add wildland gear to use when fighting grass and wildland fires. Miller said the need for new, modern equipment is urgent.

“When we have a fire in the summer like we had with 100-degree weather, you’re looking at temperatures of sometimes 140 degrees,” Miller said. “You have to really watch that the firefighters don’t get overheated. This new gear is much lighter and keeps the heat from coming in and transferring to the firefighter.”

Washington VFD serves the Washington community and offers mutual aid to the remainder of Washington County, as well as Brazos and Grimes counties.

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. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

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. For more information, visit

About Bluebonnet
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 122,000 meters and owns and maintains 12,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.

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