That's all thanks more than one 130,000 dollars in grants awarded to various departments by The Community Foundation of Abilene. They held their grant reception tonight to recognize more than fifty agencies benefiting from the grants. Seventeen of the grants were awarded to volunteer firefighter stations like Merkel and Nolan County. Both received 10,000 dollars which they say has helped them purchase or restore much needed equipment.
"This grant has helped us tremendously being able to repair all our equipment that was tore up and worn out from the fire season of last year, " said Merkel volunteer fire fighter Steve Cochran.
Nolan volunteer fire fighter Ryan Dove said, "Grants such as these are the lifeblood of the rural volunteer fire departments without these grants we have no money to operate on."
The foundation for the first time has set apart an endowment fund for volunteer firefighters around the Big Country so they can continue to solicit grants for new equipment.
They separated 15,000 dollars for that fund and expect to raise some two million dollars in the future. Nolan County was able to purchase a new truck and Merkel was able to purchase with their grant money.
Some sixty six volunteer fire departments are actually eligible for the grants, however only seventeen sent out proposals.