LCRA and Bandera Electric Cooperative representatives present a $14,600 grant to the Castle Lake Ranch Volunteer Fire Department for fire station improvements. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, front row from left to right, are: Bob Curtis, fire chief, and Mike Olson, VFD president. Middle row, from left to right: Marge Roolf, VFD fundraising chairman; Clara Albright, assistant fire chief; Pamela Olson, VFD secretary; and Kathryn Sullivan, firefighter. Back row, from left to right: Victor Reyna, firefighter; Tim Miller, assistant fire chief; Ainslie Kellogg, firefighter; and Sterling Scharmen, firefighter. Holding the check, from left to right, are: Ray Roolf, firefighter and VFD grant administrator; Lori A. Berger, LCRA Board member; and Brian Brockel, Bandera Electric Cooperative representative.
The Castle Lake Ranch Volunteer Fire Department soon will make improvements to the fire station to enable firefighters to respond more quickly on their way to emergencies, thanks to a $14,600 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative.
The grant, along with $3,650 in local matching funds, will allow the department to automate the fire station’s garage doors, expand the exit on the back of the station so firefighters can more easily walk through in protective gear, add a rainwater catchment system and build an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restroom.
Ray Roolf, a firefighter and the department’s grant administrator, said automating the garage bay doors will help firefighters save time on their way to emergencies. When the station gets an emergency call now, one of the firefighters has to open the large doors manually by physically hoisting them or pulling a chain until the door is fully open. A firefighter then pulls the truck out and waits for someone to go and manually close the door before they can leave.
“It’s a long process, but that’s the beauty of the automation LCRA is paying for,” Roolf said. “Instead of doing all that, we can just push a button and get in the truck to be ready to go when the door opens. It gets us on the road faster, and when we are responding to a medical call to support EMS, every second counts. The time we will save could really make a difference.”
Roolf said widening the door firefighters use to walk out the back of the station will make it much easier to get to the training area when in full protective gear. When a firefighter is fully suited up and wearing an emergency air tank, only one person at a time can get through the door. The grant will allow the station to expand to a two-door exit.
The grant also will pay for the addition of a rainwater catchment system to enhance the department’s ability to respond to fires and assist other departments, as well as nearby residents, Roolf said.
“This is a rural area and everybody here is on a well,” he said. “When wells don’t work, people can be left high and dry. With the rainwater catchment system, we can help them with that without having to draw from our firefighting reserve.”
Finally, Roolf said, the ADA-compliant restrooms will promote community inclusiveness and help serve department volunteers with disabilities.
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 electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bandera 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 July 31. More information is available at
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; ensuring 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
Source: LCRA Business News