Last updated: September 09. 2013 9:53AM - 5765 Views

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WILLIAMSON — USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis joined with local leaders on Thursday morning in Mingo County to celebrate several recent funding awards.

Mr. Lewis began the day with a stop at the Beech Creek Volunteer Fire Department, where he presented officials with a certificate. Last month, USDA Rural Development approved a Community Facilities Grant of $8,000 for the fire department. These funds are being combined with funds committed to the project by the fire department and will be used to support an electrical upgrade and and upgrade to the HVAC system at the fire hall. This facility also serves as a shelter and is where local residents come for assistance in an emergency.

Mr. Lewis also visited the City of Williamson’s Fire and Police Departments. In July 2013, the USDA Rural Development approved a Community Facilities Grant of $5,000 for the fire department. Funds will be used to assist in the purchase of radio communications repeater equipment that will allow the fire department to meet the new FCC guidelines. Rural Development funds are being combined with funding from the fire department in support of this project. Mr. Lewis presented a certificate to Fire Chief Jerry recognizing this funding award.

The visit to Mingo County concluded with a stop at the Williamson Police Department. Mr. Lewis presented Police Chief Barry Blair with a certificate recognizing their recent funding award. In August 2013, USDA Rural Development approved a grant of $17,000. Funds are begin combined with funding from the police department to support the purchase of two vehicles. One vehicle will be used as a ruiser with complete emergency lighting and siren package. The other vehicle will be a Ford Explorer 4 x 4. This vehicle will be used in inclement weather and to pull their DUI checkpoint trailer.

USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Lewis said, “We are very excited to be a part of these very important projects for the Beech Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the City of Williamson.” He went on to say, “Today we celebrate not only these funding awards, but also the hard work and determination of everyone associated with these organizations and the residents of these communities,” he added, “In Fiscal Year 2012, USDA Rural Development invested more than $387 million to improve housing conditions, build and improve infrastructure and create and retain jobs in rural communities across West Virginia. It’s projects like these that bring our agency one step closer to our goal of improving the quality of life for urual residents across the state.”

Funds for these projects were provided through USDA Rural Development’s Comunity Facilities Program. This program provides funds for fire and rescue, public safety and first responders. The program has financed new fire trucks, ambulances, modern communications centers, fire stations, and euipment buildings. In addition, the program has financed a wide variety of other projects to improve the quality of life in rural communities, including hospitals, schools, jails, child and adult day care and public buildings.

Further information on USDA Rural Development may be obtained by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov, or call 1-800-295-8228 in W.Va.

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