LCRA, City of Cuero award $18,768 grant to Cuero VFD for emergency equipment

New air packs will better protect firefighters, provide additional time for work during hazardous rescues

May 3, 2022

LCRA representatives present an $18,768 grant to the Cuero Volunteer Fire Department for new emergency equipment. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Luis Garcia, VFD secretary and firefighter; Brian Ladwig, VFD president and fire chief; Craig Oakes, assistant fire chief; Gilbert Esquivel, firefighter; and Matthew L. “Matt” Arthur, LCRA Board member.

CUERO, Texas – The Cuero Volunteer Fire Department will purchase two new self-contained breathing apparatuses thanks to an $18,768 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Cuero. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, paired with matching funds of $4,692 from the department, will enable Cuero VFD to replace outdated self-contained breathing apparatuses with new units that will meet updated safety standards and provide better interoperability with other area departments. The new equipment also will extend the amount of time firefighters can conduct on-scene rescue operations in hazardous circumstances. “These will hopefully be the first two in a series of new air packs that we’re able to purchase,” Chief Brian Ladwig said. “This is a perfect opportunity for us. Foremost for us is our firefighters’ safety, and I approached LCRA because they understand self-breathing apparatuses and are familiar with how they work and what’s required.” Cuero VFD’s primary response area covers about a third of DeWitt County, but the 20-plus member department also provides backup on calls within the Cuero city limits, along with mutual-aid response to other area departments. The new, higher-pressure self-contained breathing apparatuses will better prepare firefighters to render aid at emergency scenes, Ladwig said. “Most of the departments in the surrounding area are upgrading to the higher-pressure systems, which means our interoperability with other organizations wasn’t there,” he said. “If we’re out at a big scene and you have multiple agencies there, if we all have the same-level breathing apparatuses, we can share.” Ladwig said the cost of a new, high-pressure breathing apparatus approaches $10,000, making it difficult to raise enough money through a yearly fundraiser to replace this type of equipment. “We would not be able to survive as a volunteer fire department without grants,” he said. “We appreciate LCRA so much for everything they do for the communities they serve. It’s organizations like y’all that keep these departments alive.” 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. The City of Cuero 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

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