Farm Bureau donates $1.4 million to Texas fire departments
WACO, Texas—Farm Bureau members from across Texas answered the call to aid the front lines during a historic wildfire season. More than $1.4 million has been delivered to help volunteer fire departments (VFDs) across the state in a matching donation program between county Farm Bureaus and Texas Farm Bureau (TFB).
“On behalf of the Texas Farm Bureau and the rural families we represent, we wanted to say thank you,” TFB President Kenneth Dierschke said. “This fire season covered so much territory and was so intense that many of these rural fire departments used up vital materials, wore out equipment and otherwise depleted the resources necessary to protect Texas lives and property.”
In May, the TFB board of directors launched the program to direct financial contributions to the courageous members of VFDs around the state. The program ran through Nov. 30, 2011, and reached 1,282 VFDs in 186 counties.
Through the program, county Farm Bureaus donated $389,902.25 for VFD relief. Matching those donations on a $3 to $1 basis, up to a maximum of $1,000 per fire department, TFB contributed an additional $1,067,064.50 for a total of $1,456,966.75.
An additional $7,024 was donated by TFB to 22 county Farm Bureaus to assist with expenses for appreciation dinners held for firefighters.
More than 28,000 fires burned some 4 million acres in Texas due to extremely dry conditions from November 2010 to 2011. Six of the 10 largest wildfires in Texas history ignited this year. The fires destroyed 2,900 homes and left 10 people dead.
“As bad as this was—and is—we all know it could have been much worse,” Dierschke said. “Without the coordinated efforts of Texas Forest Service employees and the rural volunteer fire departments of Texas, we would no doubt be talking today of more acres burned, more homes destroyed and more lives lost.”
In addition to the donations, TFB expressed its gratitude to the Texas Forest Service (TFS) by sponsoring a lunch for the agency’s 400 employees at the TFS annual meeting in Crockett this past November.