Marion VFD lands 144 grand

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 25, 2005

It’s a saying that old wooden houses need air to “breathe.” Thanks to Senator Richard Shelby (D-AL), the many 19th-century-era homes in Marion may be breathing a little easier in the near future.

That’s thanks to a federal $144,000 grant from the Homeland Security Department’s Office for Domestic Preparedness, arranged by Shelby for the Marion Volunteer Fire Department. The grant is part of the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which will distribute $750 million set aside to help firefighters and fire departments nationwide.

In a press release made public Wednesday, Senator Shelby said that fire response was a critical priority for his efforts in Congress.

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“I remain committed to working in Congress to ensure that our nation’s first responders have the necessary resources to rapidly respond in the event of an emergency,” he said. “These funds will allow the men and women of the Marion Volunteer Fire Department to be better prepared to respond to the needs of their community.”

Marion Volunteer Fire Department Chief Cecil Crawford said that the funds would be immediately applied towards the cost of a new vehicle.

“It’s going towards a new fire truck. We’re hoping to have it by the end of the summer, June or July. We have to get the specs in,” said Crawford. “We’re really grateful to Senator Shelby for his help.”

Crawford said he was more than excited to hear the news.

“We’re all smiling ear-to-ear,” he said. “This is badly needed. There are many old antebellum homes here in Marion, and a new fire truck will go a long way towards helping them in case of fire.”

Although the grant was awarded to Marion’s VFD specifically, Crawford said the funds should be a cause for celebration throughout Perry County.

“We have 10 or 11 volunteer fire departments in Perry County,” he said. “After we get the new truck, one of the trucks it replaces will go to whichever of the more rural departments needs it most. We have a points system we use for that. ”

Crawford said he believed the next department in line was the VFD in the Heiberger community. In any case, the new truck would also be used in runs beyond Marion.

“We try to go everywhere,” Crawford said. “We do go out of city limits and do our best to assist the rural departments whenever it’s needed.”