Bluebonnet, LCRA award $25,000 grant to Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department
First responders in Lee County will get new gear to better protect firefighters responding to emergency calls
Lincoln Volunteer Fire Dept CDPP grant

Representatives from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and LCRA present a $25,000 grant to the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department for new firefighter gear. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Sherry Murphy, Bluebonnet community representative, Giddings area; Russell Jurk, Bluebonnet director, District 4; Spencer Schneider, fire chief and Giddings city manager; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA board member; Jared Boriack, assistant fire chief; and Kate Ramzinski, LCRA regional affairs representative.

A $25,000 grant from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative  and the Lower Colorado River Authority will help the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department provide new bunker and wildland fire gear to keep firefighters safer while responding to emergency calls.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $11,144 in matching funds from the Lincoln VFD, will pay for three sets of turnout gear that will provide optimal protection to firefighters battling structure fires. The grant also will help the department purchase 20 sets of protective outfits for use in fighting wildland fires.

“We’re very tickled that we were picked for this grant,” Lincoln VFD Fire Chief Spencer Schneider said. “It’s good to know that LCRA is there for their communities.”

Schneider said National Fire Protection Association standards require that turnout gear be retired 10 years from the date of purchase. The addition of three new sets means the Lincoln VFD will have nine NFPA-compliant turnout sets, enough to outfit its firefighters for most of the emergency situations they face in Lee County.

The Lincoln VFD provides mutual aid to other volunteer fire departments within Lee County, and the new protective gear “will enhance our firefighting capabilities with our neighboring departments,” Schneider said. “We can provide more manpower on a regular basis.”

Schneider, who is in his 10th year as Lincoln VFD fire chief, said last year the department responded to nearly 100 calls, many involving motor vehicle crashes on U.S. Highway 77 or State Highway 21. Those accidents sometimes resulted in roadside wildfires.

“Sometimes you come from work to a grass fire and you’re stomping around in nice pants and a nice shirt,” Schneider said. “I’ve been a firefighter for 45 years, and there’s no telling how many boots, pants and shirts I’ve lost battling grass or brush fires. Now, we’ll have better protection for ourselves, and we always want to make sure everyone goes home safely at night.”

The community grant is one of six grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and LCRA 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