DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — County officials are planning a grant program for rural fire stations in honor of a Fire Chief, Tom Hancock, who passed away.
Rural fire departments often have to ask their volunteers, who already dedicate a lot of their time to the fire service, to spend weekends away from their families to fund raise for equipment and training. These departments lack funds they need to operate as a station, so this can cause shortages of volunteers.
Epworth Fire Chief, Tom Berger says these rural stations rely on grants like the one the county is proposing.
“One of the things about the rural volunteer areas is some of the funding is limited. The volunteer fire departments are always relying on fundraisers, grants and donations in order to provide the service.”
Berger says this fund will help these rural fire stations out a lot, and he says it is fitting that is granted in memory of Hancock. Berger says the passed Fire Chief was a respected fire department volunteer and truly cared about serving the community.
“He was always a friend to public safety. He dedicated his whole life to service to the community and the fire service.”
Berger says the grant program is planned to be available by the next fiscal year. He says the county proposes a $125,000 to be split among any rural fire stations that apply.