Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 15, 2013

Facebook appeal brings results

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — With a little help from their “friends,” the Blooming Grove Volunteer Fire Department will get by — as shown by the results of a recent Facebook posting.

The department put an appeal for bottled water donations on its Facebook page recently, hoping to stockpile a few cases for the hot summer months of fighting grass fires and providing relief to its firefighters. The Daily Sun also shared the appeal on its Facebook page as well.

The results, some of which are seen in the photo accompanying this story, speak for themselves — they’ve received 218 cases of donated bottled water in just over a week, said Capt. Chad Marshall.

Among those donating were Lowes, who supplied 12 cases, and Atmos Energy, who donated a full pallet of bottled drinking water — 84 cases.

And for that, the department is very grateful. Marshall said the stockpile of water will likely get them through the next 12 months. Some folks also made cash donations to the effort.

Marshall said with the donation of the water, that frees up money to be used in other areas to improve the department.

“We want to thank everybody for their support and turnout on this, because it was awesome,” he said.

Like all volunteer departments, Blooming Grove relies mainly on donations and fundraisers to operate its trucks, buy equipment and train its firefighters. All departments that contract with the county also receive a monthly stipend from the county on a per-truck basis, but that support alone doesn’t fully fund the volunteers. Four of the department’s five operating fire trucks are eligible for the county funding.

A popular fundraiser held by the department — a “Second Chance Prom” held at Star Hall — has helped fund the department’s operations, along with an annual BBQ dinner.

To date, the department has responded to 77 calls this year, including medical aid calls in its service area. Currently they have 28 volunteer members who help support the department’s response to fire and emergency calls.

Because they never know just how busy they’ll be, setting a volunteer fire department’s budget can be tricky, Marshall said.

“Money is always a big issue,” he said. It’s a balance between funding operations, buying new equipment, and repairing existing equipment.

Fuel and operational costs are also unknowns based on how busy the department is.

Still, they try to fund one “major” equipment purchase each year — this year it was a “K-Saw” that helps firefighters in a variety of ways with its ability to cut through steel, concrete, metal, roofing and other materials.

Marshall said they are hopeful they’ll be able to do some remodeling of the department’s physical plant next year, adding some office and storage space for the large amount of paper records they are required to keep.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com