Maynard, Arkansas (KAIT) - When you are a small town and have the responsibility of covering a huge area for fire protection... What do you do when your *newest* fire truck is over 30 years old?
You have to buy a newer one! but what if you can't afford it?
The town of Maynard recently received some welcome additions to its fire house thanks to the USDA.
Maynard sits about 15 miles to the north of Pocahontas.
From its two fire stations the 18 member volunteer department has a large area to cover.
But new vehicles will make responding easier and faster.
The coverage area is nearly 200 square miles encompassing 5 small communities. They have 12 emergency vehicles but most are rather long in the tooth.
"Our newest truck until we got this new one was 31 years old." Lynn Ewing started the fire department over 30 years ago. He says these old trucks are hard to maintain.
Limited availability of parts and an accident last April took their toll. The accident was with the cities mayor Don Sikes who was driving the first response vehicle full code (lights & siren) to a coronary call.
"I had a lady to come over on my side of the highway and total out our other first responder vehicle."
The department was forced to use a former army vehicle and an old ambulance for first responses.
Ewing, "So we were virtually out of business. We were in business but didn't have anything sufficient to suit our purpose."
At this point the USDA rural services grant program stepped in to give assistance. Funding was given for the fire and rescue trucks and something else.
Not only did they get new vehicles. They also built a new fire station.
Sikes, "This is also a grant from the USDA grant program. I don't believe we could possibly expand any of our emergency services without their grant program."
But as they say...Wait, there's more!!!
Besides the new fire and rescue equipment the city was also able to obtain a new Dodge Charger city police car.
Sikes, "This is going to be our first top police car."
The all black police car came complete with deer guards and the Hemi engine.
I asked the mayor, how much has the USDA invested in Maynard?
He paused, drew in a breath, you could see the calculating going on before he answered.
"Right at 200 Thousand plus we also have a well that we're developing now, a water well. Which is almost another Half Million dollars."
The grants were all matching grant with about a 70-30 ratio for Maynard money.