LCRA, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op award $16,476 grant to Dale VFD for rescue tools

New battery-operated equipment will help firefighters get to hard-to-reach rescue sites more easily

May 12, 2022

LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $16,476 grant to the Dale Volunteer Fire Department for new rescue tools. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Jo Anna Gilland, Bluebonnet community representative, Lockhart area; James Lewey, VFD vice president and firefighter; Milton Shaw, Bluebonnet director; Ronnie Calaway, VFD board member and firefighter; Brian Barrington, fire chief; Shelly Palmer, VFD treasurer; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Elizabeth Lewey, firefighter; and Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.

CALDWELL COUNTY, Texas – The Dale Volunteer Fire Department will purchase new battery-operated rescue tools, thanks to a $16,476 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,899 in matching funds from the department, will allow Dale VFD to purchase two sets of cordless, waterproof rescue tools that include a spreader to pry apart a wrecked vehicle, a ram to free a trapped victim and a cutting tool. “We start the life-saving process,” said James Lewey, Dale VFD vice president. “As a combination fire and emergency medical services assist team, we often arrive at locations before the ambulance.” The rescue tools will replace the department’s current tools that are heavy and often malfunction. Having battery-operated tools will allow first responders to move freely and quickly, without being hampered by tangled cords or hoses. “We really need tools that allow us to be further away from the rescue truck,” Lewey said. “There have been times we’ve had to use our hand tools to cut through debris or wait for mutual aid to respond, which can take up to an hour. Having the right tools can make all the difference between life and death.” Lewey also looks forward to the waterproof features of the new equipment. “Our area has several low water crossings that are marked but not always visible during bad weather,” he said. “Having tools that are waterproof ensures they won’t short out when we’re in or near water.” 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. 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 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

About BluebonnetBluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 118,000 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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