Como VFD receives #036;20,000 in state funds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Staff Writer

COMO – Much to the delight of volunteer firefighters in Como, their department has been chosen to receive $20,000 in matching grant funds from the State of North Carolina.

Following an inspection verifying that all departmental equipment was in compliance with the stipulations of the grant, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Jim Long announced December 17 that the Como Volunteer Fire Department would be receiving $20,000 in grant money from the state.

Prior to the delivery of the check, the department first had to undergo an audit by state officials to ensure its equipment was in compliance with 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 them safely.&uot;

Como Fire Chief Jason Howell is thankful for the grant. &uot;This will help defray the cost of our equipment,&uot; he said referring to the $160,000 fire truck his department recently purchased.

Working year round to generate needed money to support the department, comprised of volunteers, firefighters hold a variety of fundraisers in the community in hopes of having enough to get the supplies and equipment they need.

&uot;Grants are wonderful, especially when you have a large ticket item like we did for a truck,&uot; he said.

Although $40,000 has been dedicated towards payment on the new truck, the balance of the amount had to be financed over a period of 10 years.

&uot;With the nature of this business you can never have enough money, but you hope you get enough to keep going from one day to the next,&uot; Howell said, also expressing thanks for the county’s contribution to the purchase.

&uot;Grants like that are what help the fire department to function. We are grateful to have it. It is well appreciated,&uot; he said.

Previously, the department received grants for items including turnout gear, fire hose, flashlights, communication devices and pagers.

&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,&uot; Long said.

&uot;We’ve done a lot of good with this money over the last 15 years,&uot; Long said, &uot;and I intend to continue supporting our fire and rescue organizations across this great state. Congratulations to the Como Volunteer Fire Department.&uot;

During Commissioner Long’s tenure in office, the Department of Insurance had distributed a total of $48,089,790.16 in grant money to fire and rescue departments across the state, with $68,645.07 being awarded to the Como Fire Department to date and $535,662.33 approved for Hertford County.

In 1998, the General Assembly created the Fire Grant Fund to help volunteer units raise money for equipment and supplies. The funds are matching grants where the state matches dollar for dollar the amount of money raised locally to purchase necessary equipment, up to an approved figure.

The Como Fire Department and volunteer EMS will be holding their annual fundraiser barbecue meal in February to help support their operation.