Trinity Valley Electric Co-op member contributions through Operation Round Up go to many good causes throughout the region, but the TVEC Charitable Foundation support of local fire departments may have the most broadly felt impact.
Fire department representatives gathered at the TVEC Kaufman and Athens offices in December to receive donation funds totaling $135,000.
“The money they are giving is directly contributing to safety in their area,” said Chandler VFD firefighter Wayne Heaton. “It is a full circle. This is something that can affect your house or your neighbor’s house.”
Each department in the TVEC service area received a $2,500 grants from the foundation, but the firefighters noted that cooperation between departments means everyone gets maximum benefit.
“With mutual aid, volunteer departments go to other areas as well,” said Brian Folden, another Chandler volunteer. “We had three calls to West Side VFD for structure fires within one week.”
Volunteer fire departments are funded through several channels, but local contributions are key in keeping equipment ready when emergencies arise.
“Even though it is volunteer and the labor is free, everything else is not. It takes a lot of money to run a volunteer department,” Heaton said. “Things like our Jaws of Life generator—that has to be working on the first pull, or it can be a matter of life or death.”