LCRA, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op award $25,000 grant to Tanglewood VFD

Department will upgrade emergency gear for faster, safer vehicle rescues

June 15, 2023

Representatives from LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative present a $25,000 grant to the Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department for a new Jaws of Life set. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Savannah Hall, Tanglewood VFD supporter; Guy Hall III, first assistant fire chief; Russell Jurk, Bluebonnet director, District 4; Sherry Murphy, Bluebonnet community representative, Giddings area; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Guy Hall Jr., fire chief; Julie Hall, Tanglewood VFD supporter; Debbie Key, firefighter and emergency care attendant; and Travis Crim, captain.
LEE COUNTY, Texas – The Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department will purchase a new Jaws of Life set to help rescue people trapped in wrecked vehicles, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,375 in matching funds from the Tanglewood VFD, will allow the department to replace an outdated Jaws of Life set with a newer, more efficient battery-operated model.

“Our Jaws of Life unit is over 10 years old, and we’re having some problems with one of the main pumps,” said Guy Hall III, first assistant fire chief. “We’ve been trying to replace it with something that’s more dependable and will cut down on the number of volunteers it takes to run it.”

The fire department is working to upgrade and expand the equipment it has on hand to better serve both residents in the rapidly growing area and motorists passing through on U.S. Highway 77.

“In the last five years, we’ve had several entrapment wrecks where we’ve had to pop a door and cut the car up to get victims out,” Hall said. “At least half of our call volume is vehicle wrecks, and the call volume is steadily going up.”

The department’s current Jaws of Life requires a motor-powered hydraulic pump to be set up on scene. The spreading arms weigh about 80 pounds.

“You have to pull off the pump, which takes two people unless you’re the size of the Hulk, and then stretch out a hose connected to the tool,” Hall said. “Then somebody’s got to start the pump, somebody’s got to work the tool and then work the valve. It’s a lot of steps.”

The new Jaws of Life will be battery-operated, allowing for easier maneuverability and quicker deployment in emergencies.

“There’s no hoses and there’s no pump,” Hall said.
“There’s just a battery. One person can walk, push the ‘on’ button, twist the handle and go to work. Ultimately, it’s better for our firefighters and better for the patient by getting them to the hospital quicker.”

The department’s new Jaws of Life will be transported on a firetruck purchased with the help of a previous LCRA grant.

The community grant is one of 34 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 nearly 125,000 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.

Media Contacts:

Clara Tuma
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Will Holford
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