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In REC’s service area, there are 24 rural fire departments with over 390 men and women volunteering their time to help protect their families, neighbors and friends. Not only do these individuals fight fires, but they also help construct buildings to house equipment, perform maintenance and work fundraisers to have the necessary money to purchase fuel and equipment to protect homes and properties in their area. These services survive because of the dedication of volunteer firefighters.

For 33 years, firefighters in REC’s service area have gathered for recognition for their efforts in protecting lives and property. 

This year 19 fire departments were in attendance at the banquet and REC presented each department with a check to assist in purchasing equipment and supplies. REC’s grant program awarded $15,950 to the area departments bringing the program’s total donated funds to $433,850.

“It is important to support our local rural fire departments as they are first responders protecting our lives, businesses and property,” CEO, Dusty Ricks said. “REC’s grant program is designed to assist these departments in being better equipped to handle fires in rural areas. The service rural fire departments provide is invaluable and we cannot thank them enough for the work they do every day.”

REC recognizes the importance of the tasks these men and women perform and the obstacles they must overcome to do their jobs. The grant program is the Cooperative’s way of expressing thanks for their hard work protecting the people in rural communities and their property. 

Departments receiving grants include: Acme, Alex, Bailey, Bradley, Bray, Cox City, Dibble, Doyle, Elmore City, Farwell, Katie, Lindsay, Maysville, Naples, Ninnekah, Paoli, Payne, Pernell, Purcell, Rush Creek, Rush Springs, Washington, Wayne and Wynnewood. 

Collectively, the 24 departments have 393 firefighters trained to fight wildfires as well as structure fires. During 2022, the departments went on 3,034 runs.