Photo L to R: Blue Ridge Energy District Manager Tasha Rountree; Blue Ridge Energy Board member David Boone; New River Chairman of the Board Tim Porter; New River Fire Chief Leonard Houck, Blue Ridge Energy Board member James Young and Blue Ridge Energy Board member Cindy Price.
West Jefferson, North Carolina (January 24, 2020) – Four local fire departments enter 2020 with new firefighting equipment, benefiting the communities of New River (Ashe), Collettsville, Grace Chapel and Patterson (Caldwell)
The fire departments were awarded a collective total of $1,408,000 in zero-interest loans for projects submitted, in coordination with Blue Ridge Energy, to the government’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG). Local electric cooperatives like Blue Ridge Energy assist the communities they serve with quality of life and economic development efforts and the REDLG program helps facilitate the effort to support rural communities.
Over many years of Blue Ridge Energy’s involvement with the REDLG program, awarded funds have supported many different initiatives all across the cooperative’s service area. REDLG funds have supported job creation or expansion; adequate and clean water projects for towns; medical equipment and health care facilities; and adequate firefighting equipment and facilities.
More details on the current REDLG loans awarded locally:
New River Fire Department: A $276,000 loan to assist in purchasing a 3,000 gallon water pumper truck to serve the needs of citizens living in the Crumpler area of Ashe County.
Collettsville Fire Department: A $360,000 loan to assist in purchasing a 3,000 gallon water pumper truck to serve the needs of citizens living in the Collettsville community of western Caldwell County.
Grace Chapel Fire Department: A $552,000 loan to assist in purchasing a 1,000 gallon water pumper truck to serve the needs of the Grace Chapel community of southern Caldwell County.
Patterson Fire Department: A $220,000 loan to assist in purchasing a 2,200 gallon water pumper truck to serve the needs of the Patterson community of northern Caldwell County.
REDLG, which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds and grants to qualified entities. It is an important tool in bolstering the economies of rural America, which are typically more challenged in attracting jobs and quality, affordable access to health care and other vital resources.
“Supporting quality of life in the communities we serve is critical to our purpose as a local electric cooperative,” said Doug Johnson, chief executive officer of Blue Ridge Energy. “The REDLG program is an important tool for helping rural communities across the nation compete for critical services such as safety, health care, education and job development. We’re pleased we’re able to secure the latest funds for these critical projects,” Johnson said.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 76,000 members in northwest North Carolina. Its propane and fuels subsidiary also serves customers in the cooperative’s service area and beyond, including parts of Virginia and Catawba and Burke counties in North Carolina. For more information, visit BlueRidgeEnergy.com.