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Local firefighters get $35K in state funds

Twenty volunteer fire departments in Covington County were awarded more than $35,000 in annual state funds Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the Covington County Firefighters Association in Loango. The monies were dispensed to the departments through the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The AFC’s Gary Thornton said the money, which is appropriated each year through the legislature, gives local volunteer departments much-needed operating funds each year.

“Each eligible fire department in the state is awarded this money,” Thornton said. “To be eligible, the department must be 80 percent volunteers. Andalusia is the only department in Covington County that is not eligible, because they’re paid.”

Thornton said the funds can be spent for any departmental purpose, with the exception of food, drinks, salaries or social wealth.

“They can basically use it for anything,” he said. “Many departments utilize the money to help with fuel expenses, utilities and so on.”

Each VFD received a check for $1,719.

“Speaker of the House Seth Hammett and Sen. Jimmy Holley are instrumental in securing this money each year,” Thornton said. “Each one of these guys here (Tuesday) is thankful for the money and what it does for their department.”