State grant benefits Winton firemen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

WINTON – North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Jim Long made the trip to tiny Winton yesterday (Wednesday), but what he brought with him from the State Capitol wasn’t small.

In an ongoing effort to assist emergency response units throughout the state, Long – along with Bill Bradbury, Special Assistant for Regional Affairs – presented a grant to the Winton Fire Department in the amount of $13,784.56 from the State of North Carolina.

The grant money, which is matching funds of what the local fire department has already raised on its own, will be used to purchase much-needed firefighting equipment.

Before the check delivery, officials audited the Department’s equipment to ensure that it complied with the grant requirements.

&uot;Fire and rescue personnel are on the front lines of responding to emergencies and protecting us every day,&uot; said Commissioner Long. &uot;The bravery shown by these men and women should be supported with the best equipment and supplies needed to do their jobs right and do it safely. But too often our volunteer departments struggle for money.&uot;

The Commissioner said that volunteer fire departments are stretched extremely thin financially.

&uot;Funds such as the check we are presenting here today will help the Winton firemen spend more time training than having to conduct fundraisers,&uot; he stressed. &uot;These guys do a heck of a job and we in Raleigh are doing our best to make sure they have the tools they need to protect the people they so diligently serve.&uot;

He continued, &uot;I am proud that we have this grant program in place to provide departments like this one with much-needed funds to continue their good work. We’ve done a lot of good with this money over the last 15 years, and I intend to continue supporting our fire and rescue organizations across this great state. Congratulations to the Winton Fire Department.&uot;

To date, the Winton Fire Department has been the recipient of $65,599 from the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner’s Office.

&uot;Without the help we receive from the state, we’d be in a big mess,&uot; stated Winton Fire Chief James Broglin who accepted the grant funding on behalf of the department. &uot;We have a lot of support from many sources, but it takes all of it to continue to update and upgrade the services we offer. Without that support, we would be hurting to make ends meet.&uot;

Local State House of Representative Howard Hunter Jr. praised the Winton firefighters as, &uot;one of the best volunteer fire departments.&uot;

&uot;These guys are on the ball, always training and always using their funds to help themselves become better firefighters,&uot; said Hunter. &uot;Volunteer firefighters are a special breed of men and women. They freely give of their time in the truest sense of being a volunteer – a person willing to help his or her neighbor in times of need.&uot;

The General Assembly created the Fire Grant Fund in 1988 to help volunteer units raise money for equipment and supplies. The funds are matching grants – the state matches dollar-for-dollar, up to an approved amount, monies raised locally to purchase necessary equipment.

During Commissioner Long’s tenure in office, the Department of Insurance has distributed a total of $48,089.790.16 in grant money to fire and rescue departments across the state. The total amount of grants approved for Hertford County to date is $119,416.09.