Farmers lend helping hand to volunteer fire departments
WACO -- With more than 21,000 fires recorded since November, Texas firefighters are working harder than ever.
"It hasn't been the summer it's been the whole year. Where normally we would run two to three calls a week, we've doubled those to six and eight calls a week," said Jerry Pavelka, Mart Fire Chief.
As for volunteer fire departments funding is a serious issue.
So the Texas Farm Bureau has taken special notice as the jobs provided by firemen can directly affect their business.
"Fire stations we talked to said they were going on 2 to 3 times the number of calls this year compared to a normal year. So just there budgets being crunched we sure didn't want them to run out of gas coming to put our fire out in our fields," said Marc Scott, McLennan County Farm Bureau President.
Already experiencing a tough year themselves, these farmers understand the challenges of a drought making the decision to donate an easy one.
"The Texas Farm Bureau was going to match three to one for every dollar that McLennan County Farm Bureau put into the system. And, that meant we gave $333 from McLennan County and the state matched it with a $1,000 contribution," said Scott.
Pavelka said those $1,000 donations are a tremendous help since their expenses have doubled this year.
"All these expenses that we're not normally used to by running a, a twice as many call year, are starting to add up. And, it has taken basically twice as much more money this year to run a department than what it has in the past," said Pavelka.
The Texas Farm Bureau has reached more than a half million dollars in donations throughout the state with county bureau's contributing over $150,000 matched with roughly $400 from the state bureau.