Local FD receives $248,000 loan for brand-new truck

Photo caption: Members of the Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department and representatives of Caswell County and Piedmont Electric gather to celebrate the closing of $248,000 in zero-interest loans to the Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department. Attendees (From left to right): Tim Solomon – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Vernon Massengill – Caswell County Fire Marshal, Bryan Miller – Caswell County Manager, Bruce Pleasant – USDA Business Programs Director, Barry Barnwell – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Stephen Long   Piedmont Electric Board of Directors, Susan Cashion   Vice President, Chief Compliance and Administrative Officer at Piedmont Electric, Paul Bailey   Piedmont Electric Board of Directors, Scotty Barnwell   Assistant Chief of Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Johnny Wright   Chief of Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Bill Barber   Piedmont Electric Board of Directors, Steve Hamlin   President and CEO of Piedmont Electric, David Poythress   Piedmont Electric Board of Directors, David Owen – Caswell County Commissioner, Kenneth Travis – Former Caswell County Commissioner, Gary King – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Rick McVey – Vice Chairman Caswell County Commissioner, Larry Seal – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Jeff Oakley   Deputy Chief of Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Tim Yarbrough – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Robbie Jean Yarbrough – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Henry Lee Oakley – Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Randy Kinley – Piedmont Electric Board of Directors

The Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department received a $248,000 zero-interest loan to purchase a new fire truck. Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation is playing a supporting role in this purchase by facilitating this loan funded from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.

This larger and more reliable pumper/tanker will assist the 25 firefighters at the Prospect Hill VFD in their life and property saving efforts. With a pumping capability of 1250 gallons per minute (gpm) and a 1000 gallon tank, this new 2018 pumper/tanker will replace their 1970s model which pumped at 500 gpm. 

“With this increased capability, our fire department should be able to obtain a much better insurance rating for those individuals and businesses that we serve,” said Chief Johnny Wright. “This new truck is also more reliable and user friendly.”

The funds for this truck came from the USDA REDLG program facilitated by Piedmont Electric. The program provides zero-interest funds from the federal government to local electric cooperatives who in turn lend the money to local entities for projects that support rural areas.

“We are proud to work with the Prospect Hill Volunteer Fire Department to improve the quality of life in one of the communities we serve,” said Steve Hamlin, Piedmont Electric President and CEO. “The cooperative’s structure was created to support the community. This zero-interest loan program allows us to support our communities far beyond our electric service by partnering with the USDA and helping bring in federal money.”

In the past several years, Piedmont Electric has secured more than $10 million in USDA funding within Caswell, Alamance, Orange, Durham and Person counties for fire trucks, fire stations, ambulances, schools and a public library. As the funds are repaid they are re-loaned to assist with future projects in communities served by Piedmont Electric.

“In the past several years, Piedmont EMC has secured more than $10 million in funding that we’ve loaned within five of the counties of our service area for fire trucks and fire stations,” Hamlin added. “And you may ask yourself - why is Piedmont Electric involved in fire restoration, and these other endeavors? These funds are made available in partnership with the USDA to provide zero-interest loans from the USDA to electric cooperatives, who in turn can lend it out for these purposes to support rural areas. Once these loans are repaid, money is added back to our revolving fund, which can then be re-loaned for other special projects to support rural areas.”

“As a locally-owned co-op, it is our mission to support the communities we serve. Concern for the community is one of our guiding cooperative principles. We want to make sure this area continues to be a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” Hamlin continued. “We do thank the Prospect Hill Fire people for all their hard work. We know you put your life in danger all the time doing things for the community, to save people. Thank you for doing what you do. And we’re pleased to be a part of it by providing funding for this fire truck.” 

Prospect Hill Fire Chief Wright indicated that the model being replaced by the new truck was a worn-out 1977 model. 

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out, and especially to Piedmont for all their help. The Truck Committee and Board of Directors has put a lot of work into it. We actually started on it a couple of years ago,” Wright said. “This is going to be a big asset to us. We appreciate the County Commissioners coming out, and the support they’ve given us over the years. We appreciate everybody coming out.” 

“I just want to congratulate Prospect Hill,” added Caswell County Fire Marshal Vernon Massengill. “Prospect Hill has gotten a loan. Semora has gotten a loan. Yanceyville has gotten a loan. I’m talking about Fire Departments. Cherry Grove has gotten one. Leasburg has gotten one. Half, or more, of the Fire Departments in Caswell County (have gotten loans for new equipment). And we’re very appreciative of that. We also want to make sure we appreciate the County Commissioners. They have upped our monies in tax dollars to take advantage of no-interest loans. Before, we couldn’t even afford no-interest loans. They have done their part.” 

Piedmont Electric is a local, member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative serving more than 31,000 electric accounts in Caswell, Alamance, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties. Piedmont Electric exists to serve our members and improve the quality of life in our communities through local employment, economic development, business engagement, youth education, grants to educators, advocacy for energy issues, community involvement and emergency preparedness support. Visit www.pemc.coop for more information.

“To be associated with this group of folks is truly amazing. I’m talking about the Fire Departments, USDA, Piedmont Electric, and the Board of Commissioners. It’s truly amazing,” County Manager Bryan Miller stated. “Relationships are important. Partnerships are just as important. And the partnerships that USDA has formed with the county, with the Fire Departments, with the members of our community, is just truly amazing. We’re so blessed to have Piedmont Electric, the USDA, and the county’s Fire Departments on our side, and fighting with us, for the things that make Caswell County better.” 

“The County Commissioners have appropriated fire service district money for them to be able to pay back the loans provided by USDA and Piedmont Electric,” Miller added. “This is what it really takes. It takes us working together as a team. And the partnerships formed within these teams are so important. And at the end of the day, we are helping our citizenry.”