Nine local volunteer fire departments receive grants - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

VIDEO: Nine local volunteer fire departments receive grants


It's been an ongoing concern for months now. Area firefighters are worn out, fighting fires with equipment that is worn down. The good news is, that may be changing a little. Nine area volunteer fire departments now have a little extra cash to fight these fires with thanks to the Lubbock Area Foundation.

Thursday, the foundation awarded the second round of grants from the South Plains Disaster Recovery Fund totaling $8,000. It's money the firefighters need and appreciate during what is considered a historic fire season.

"We started with our budget and we have had so many calls that we had to throw it out the window," said West Carlisle Assistant Fire Chief Rudy Morales.

"Well, it was looking pretty slim but we have managed to pull resources," said Petersburg Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Marquez. It's the same story for all of these volunteer departments. They are fighting fires not only in their own back yard, but often across the area just to support other departments.

They have had to answer the call for help so many times this wildfire season that there are concerns about resources.

Back in April, the Lubbock Area Foundation and the South Plains Association of Governments created a recovery fund to help ease the burden on communities threatened by wildfires.

Joe Stettheimer, president of LAF, presented nine departments with checks ranging from $500 to $2000 based on needs.

The community fire departments that received money are Crosbyton, Idalou, O'Donnell, Petersburg, Sundown, Wellman, West Carlisle, Whiteface and Wilson.

"They put us first and now they have great financial needs and now it is up to us to help them in a time of need," said Stettheimer.

"It's going to help us out with our flat tires, fuel and foam for other fires," said Marquez.

"It means really our livelihood where we can go out and do our jobs the way we need to with the resources we need," said Wilson Assistant Fire Chief Clyde Wilke.

For other departments like West Carlisle, the money ensures that they will be able to get to the fires. The check they received will most likely cover fuel costs.

"We've made a lot less stretch so this will help tremendously," added Marquez.

This fire season is unlike any other these firefighters have ever seen. "I've been on the department 17 years and I have never seen it this dry," said Morales.

At this time, all contributions have been distributed as grants to volunteer fire departments. Unfortunately, dozens of departments have unmet needs in excess of $100,000.   

100 percent of every donation will go to volunteer fire departments and relief agencies. Plans are underway for a charity golf tournament at LakeRidge Country Club. The tournament will take place on August 15th.

$400 for a team or $100 for an individual. If you want to play you can sign up online with the Lubbock Area Foundation.

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