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MARTINDALE, Texas – A $19,583 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will help Martindale Volunteer Fire and Rescue purchase a utility terrain vehicle to assist with river rescues and patient transports.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $4,896 in matching funds, will provide the department with a reliable rescue vehicle to access areas along the San Marcos River that are hard to reach with standard firetrucks or brush trucks.
“We’re in great need of this type of river rescue UTV, and it will be another great asset for our department,” said Bill Glaze, board president of Martindale Volunteer Fire and Rescue. “We spend about 45 days or more by the river during floating season.”
With about 15 full-time volunteers, Martindale Volunteer Fire and Rescue, formerly known as the Martindale Volunteer Fire Department Company, serves a population of more than 1,270.
The San Marcos River runs alongside the City of Martindale and attracts up to 10,000 visitors per weekend during spring and summer. Martindale Fire has seen an increase over the last three years in river-related calls.
“We use an inflatable boat to rescue people from the river, but the UTV will be used to transport physically injured persons by land to an awaiting ambulance,” Glaze said. “The hardest thing about not having this type of vehicle is first responders can’t get close to the river bottom for rescues. Their brush trucks won’t make it that close and that means patients have to be carried up from the riverbanks to an ambulance by hand.”
Glaze said the bed of the UTV will have room for a stretcher and a medical technician who will ride in the back during patient transports. The vehicle also has ample storage for medical equipment such as water rescue gear and automated external defibrillators.
“This grant has been a real blessing to us for sure and we appreciate LCRA,” he said. “Although we won’t get the truck until after the floating season begins, everyone is very excited about it and we’ll put it to work immediately.”
The community grant is one of 25 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. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative 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 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 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 lcra.org.
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 111,000 meters and owns and maintains 12,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to bluebonnet.coop and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.
LCRA: Clara Tuma 512-578-3292
Bluebonnet: Will Holford 512-332-7955