LCRA, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op award $19,429 grant to Heart of the Pines VFD

New personal protective equipment and fire-rescue saw will improve response time, rescue operations

May 11, 2022

LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $19,429 grant to the Heart of the Pines Volunteer Fire Department for new personal protective equipment and a fire-rescue saw. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Nikki Lucas, VFD vice president and support services; John Gomez, VFD lieutenant; Andrew Baker, firefighter; Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; James Lewey, VFD treasurer and firefighter; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Josh Lucas, VFD assistant fire chief and public relations chair; Cody Kelly, VFD fire chief; Roderick Emanuel, Bluebonnet director; Debbi Goertz, Bluebonnet director; Aimee Lewey, junior firefighter; Johnny Sanders, Bluebonnet community representative manager; John Ertz, firefighter; Deborah Rogers, Bluebonnet community representative, Bastrop area; Josh Coy, Bluebonnet community representative, Bastrop area; Melissa Baker, VFD support services; and Elizabeth Lewey, firefighter.
BASTROP COUNTY, Texas – A $19,429 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will help the Heart of the Pines Volunteer Fire Department improve its response time and rescue operations. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $4,734 in matching funds from the department, will allow the VFD to purchase 12 sets of new personal protective equipment and a fire-rescue saw. Heart of the Pines VFD currently uses gear that’s nearing its expiration date and was originally fit for volunteers who have since left the department. Since the gear doesn’t properly fit current firefighters, it takes longer to put the equipment on, extending the department’s response time. Assistant Fire Chief Joshua Lucas said having equipment that fits properly allows first responders to arrive at emergencies and assess the situation more quickly. “When seconds count, every moment matters,” Lucas said. “Gear fitted properly is a huge asset to the citizens of the areas we serve.” The addition of a new fire-rescue saw will significantly cut the time for rescue operations Lucas said. A fire-rescue saw is used to cut concrete, rebar, tin roofs, metal buildings, garage doors and more. The Heart of the Pines VFD is one of the only remaining all-volunteer fire departments serving Bastrop County. Fundraising, donations, grants and dues help fund the 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. 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 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 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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