The following story is courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority.
BERTRAM, Texas – The Bertram Volunteer Fire Department soon will repair the rundown roof on its fire station and purchase four automated external defibrillators (AEDs), thanks to a $44,950 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with more than $10,000 in matching contributions, will help the department fix the roof on its more than 100-year-old fire station. The roof is in extremely poor shape and has been shored up in several places to keep it from falling even further. The new roof will better protect Bertram VFD’s equipment and provide a safe shelter for the community.
“During bad storms, the fire station is a place people come,” said Bobby Huffstuttler, Bertram VFD fire chief. “The new roof covering will ensure that the people seeking refuge from the elements will have a safe dry place to ride out the storm.”
The new roof will include insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, and will reduce the chance dangerous molds and mildew will get in the station by eliminating leaks.
“The funds to repair the roof are greatly appreciated,” Huffstuttler said. “The repair of the roof will allow us to keep our life-saving equipment in top-notch condition without having to worry about water leaks. Without this grant, it likely would have taken us several years to get the needed funding to complete these projects.”
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said the grant program is designed to help community projects throughout the LCRA service territory.
“This is what our Community Development Partnership Program is about,” Wilson said. “We’re lending a hand to the communities we serve in a tangible way. Without the grant, these volunteer firefighters would have to wait years to be able to house their valuable equipment in a safe and dry environment.”
Julie Parsley, CEO of Pedernales Electric Cooperative, said PEC is honored to help the fire department upgrade its building.
“We are proud to be part of the Bertram community,” Parsley said. “Like our partners at LCRA, we believe in helping the communities we serve because many of our employees are your neighbors, too.”
In addition to repairing the fire station, the grant will allow the department to purchase an AED for every fire truck. Huffstuttler said this is important to firefighters because the leading cause of death for a firefighter at a scene is cardiac arrest from over exertion.
“We often have multiple calls at the same time that could require an AED,” Huffstuttler said. “By having them on all of our trucks, the community is better protected. The odds of survival are greatly increased by early defibrillation during a cardiac event.”
Bertram VFD covers 169 square miles in northeast Burnet County, including the City of Bertram. The department also provides mutual aid to fire departments in Williamson County and other parts of Burnet County.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. PEC is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-July 31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
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 access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit lcra.org.