WEST JEFFERSON — Blue Ridge Energy recently awarded $276,000 in funds to New River Volunteer Fire and Rescue for a new fire truck, made possible by a Rural Economic Development Loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As part of the USDA, REDLG enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loan funds and grants to qualified entities.
REDLG loans awarded to cooperatives go into a revolving fund, which means the loans are repaid over time by recipients such as New River Volunteer Fire Department. This enables a partial funding source for additional, future community improvement projects.
Payments on the zero-interest loan will be placed into a Blue Ridge Energy revolving loan fund to be used for future opportunities to improve communities with projects like New River’s fire truck and other initiatives that create jobs or enhance community services.
According to New River Chief Leonard Houck, the new pumper truck will help better serve the community and offer greater mutual aid to other departments and communities.
“We greatly appreciate Blue Ridge Energy for their help in making this loan process the easiest loan we have ever applied for,” Houck said. “We are also excited to know that our payments for this loan will one day help other rural fire departments afford much needed equipment.”
Blue Ridge Energy CEO Doug Johnson said the cooperative is excited to be able to provide help to rural fire departments such as New River VFD through the USDA funds.