ADA — State Senator Susan Paddack and State Representatives Paul Roan, Wes Hilliard, and Todd Thomsen presented checks for operational funding, to 14 rural fire departments in Pontotoc County Wednesday.

Volunteer fire departments from Allen, Byng, Fittstown, Fitzhugh, Francis, Happyland, Homer, Lula, Oil Center, Pickett, Roff, Stonewall, Union Valley, and Vanoss received $5,100 each.

These funds have more than doubled from a period of just two years ago and are part of a package passed by the Oklahoma Legislature and appropriated through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to provide more resources for the rural volunteer departments across the state serving communities and towns with populations of 10,000 or less.

State Senator Susan Paddack expressed her appreciation for the departments and said she was proud to get this operational funding to these rural fire departments at the same level as last year.

“I believe it is vital to provide our rural fire fighters with the resources they need to protect the health and safety of everyone in their community as well as the fire fighters themselves during fire and emergency incidents,” Paddack said. “I appreciate all of our firefighters very much! ”

Representative Roan addressed the firefighters on accomplishments made during the last few legislative sessions to provide the rural fire departments with increased funding to purchase much needed equipment and make available essential training free of charge.

“I want the firefighters to know that I appreciate their service and will always support programs that will benefit our rural fire departments,” Roan said. “Improving rural fire departments provides increased safety for life and property but it also means lower insurance premiums for property owners in Pontotoc County.”

Representative Hilliard stated his continued support for the rural fire departments and emphasized that these funds provide for the safety of firefighters, improved fire protection, enhanced safety of the community residents, lessens the amount of fire damage and its costs, and increase interoperable capability.