LEE COUNTY, Texas – The Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department will soon be able to refill firefighter air tanks and bottles at the department rather than sending them out of town to be replenished, thanks to a $19,893 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. 

This grant, combined with $4,973 in matching funds from the department, will enable the department to purchase and install the new self-contained breathing apparatus refill station to help ensure volunteer firefighters have access to clean, safe air while responding to emergencies. 

“Without our own system, we have to go to the Giddings Fire Department 12 miles away and fill up our large tanks there,” said Spencer Schneider, fire department chief. “When filled, it takes two people to lift them, and we have to transport them on the back of a truck. We have to do this on a regular basis.”

In addition to the improved efficiency of having a system in-house, the Lincoln VFD will be able to refill air bottles for nearby departments free of charge. 

“We are no better than any other department, but we are proud of the fact that we are in the center of the county, and with our experience and equipment, we are able to support other fire departments in our area,” Schneider said. “If it wasn’t for this grant, we wouldn’t have this opportunity.”

He said he and the volunteers in his department are dedicated to giving back to their community. 

“People from all over our county have been very good to us,” Schneider said. “Community fundraisers and grants like these help our volunteer department survive. We are very, very humbled that LCRA and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative would grant us this.”

The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which 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 will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available at

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