Omnibus CAWACO grant

Once again, CAWACO comes through for county entities, this time with an omnibus series of grants totalling $25,302 for six different volunteer fire and rescue departments (VFDs). CAWACO is a funding agency of last resort – more precisely of first resort – because it’s often the only resort for the particular kind of small- to medium-scale grants needed for many educational, municipal, community, and first responder projects in the county.

Recipients of this round of grants: West Blount VFD – $5,000 to complete work on the new Nyota station #4, providing fire protection with acceptable response times for the first time in the community’s history; Allgood VFD – $3,100 for door replacement on a station building to get the fire engine under roof; Cleveland VFD – $5,000 to buy replacement batteries, bracelets, and supplies for Project Life Saver, to guarantee the security of Alzheimer’s/ autism sufferers and other elderly individuals; Ricetown VFD – $5,000 for a heavy-duty commercial washer needed to decontaminate turnout gear used in fighting fires and dealing with hazardous materials; Remlap VFD – $2,202 to update its antique computer system; Oneonta FD – $5,000 to upgrade communications used by firefighters for whom waterproof radios are a safety necessity in the water-prone environments they work in.

Lineup from the left of those who provide, manage, coordinate, or put to good use grant funds issued by CAWACO: County administrator John Bullard, Blount County CAWACO board member Doug Smith, Remlap VFD Chief Paul Gilbert, Oneonta FD interim Chief Leslie Loggins, West Blount VFD Chief J. J. Ivey (partially hidden), Cleveland VFD secretary/ treasurer Anita Pass, Ricetown VFD Chief Tim Frye Jr., District 34 Rep. David Standridge, District 17 Sen. Shay Shelnutt, CAWACO program manager Patti Pennington, Probate Judge/Commission Chairman Chris Green, and CAWACO program developer Drayton Cosby. CAWACO stands for Cahaba, Warrior, and Coosa rivers, the three watersheds in which the resource conservation and development agency operates. It serves Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, and Walker Counties.

-Ron Gholson