LCRA, Bluebonnet award $50,000 to South Lee County VFD for new fire truck


LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative representatives present a $50,000 grant to the South Lee County Volunteer Fire Department for a new tender truck. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Charles Murray, Lee County commissioner; Charles Becker, South Lee County Volunteer Fire Department vice president; Delvin Boriack, VFD volunteer; Joyce Bise, VFD volunteer; Raymond Arldt, firefighter; Wilbert Noack, firefighter; Hondo Powell, Bluebonnet community and development services representative; Wayne Gallip, firefighter; Johnny Sanders, Bluebonnet manager of community and development services; Russell Kappler, firefighter; Paul Fischer, Lee County judge; Mark Johnson, Bluebonnet community and development services representative; Curtis Oltman, firefighter; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; Russell Jurk, Bluebonnet director; John Hinze, firefighter; Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager; Ron Zoch, VFD secretary; Michael Krause, VFD treasurer; Nick Hinze, firefighter; Carson Becker, firefighter; Shawn Bigon, drill captain; Clint Harp, LCRA chief of staff; Kyle Jenke, firefighter; and Philip Tharp, firefighter and Bluebonnet control center operator.

The South Lee County Volunteer Fire Department soon will have a new tender truck allowing firefighters to respond more efficiently and safely to emergencies, thanks to a $50,000 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
The grant, along with more than $212,000 in local matching funds, will allow the department to replace the truck currently being used, which does not meet National Fire Protection Association standards and can adversely affect firefighter safety and fire response efficiency.
“Volunteer firefighters sacrifice so much to help their communities,” LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said. “The South Lee County VFD has been raising money for this truck for several years, and it means a lot to us to help get them to the finish line. This new truck will be reliable and will help firefighters get to and handle emergencies more quickly and safely.”
Joyce Bise, a volunteer with the department, said the organization has been raising money for the new truck for three years, setting aside proceeds from fundraisers and donations from the community.
“A volunteer fire department, of course, has a challenge in being able to afford adequate equipment,” Bise said. “This (current) truck was never even intended to be a firetruck. It is a detriment to the efficiency of fighting a fire or putting out a structural fire.”
The new tender truck will be designed to ensure the safety of firefighters and those they’re serving.
The South Lee County Volunteer Fire Department serves a population of about 1,200 in its immediate response area and a countywide population of about 17,500 through mutual aid agreements with six other volunteer departments. It also provides mutual aid for the neighboring counties of Fayette, Bastrop, Burleson and Washington.
“This truck will be so much more efficient, and any time we have a response here, the community will benefit,” Bise said. “This is a real boost to the entire area – not just our immediate service area. This unit can now give so much more support if we had something like another Bastrop wildfire.”
After starting with a handful of volunteers in the early 1980s, the department now has 36 active volunteer firefighters representing several generations of firefighter families.
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. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants are due Jan. 31. More information is available at

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