Local Volunteer Fire Department Pays it Forward

Good to Know: 

The Helping Hands program through the Texas A&M Forest Service pairs fire departments in need...with fire departments with equipment to spare.

Since the program was started in 1997, Helping Hands has received over 18-million dollars in donated equipment.

SOMERVILLE - When we need help, we call 9-1-1. But who helps the firefighters and rescue crews that save us?

The Somerville Volunteer Fire Department is relatively small. They only had about 127 calls last year.

But that's 127 situations where they were able to make a difference.

They help the community...who helps them.

As a volunteer organization, they rely on donations.

"As far as equipment, yes we're responsible for our own equipment," said Somerville Volunteer Firefighter Patrick Mantey.

They get help from the city with some operational costs like insurance, but outside of that, they're on their own.

Like other volunteer fire departments, Somerville hosts an annual fundraiser to get the help they need.

"We can't thank them enough. I mean, the community support around here is unbelievable."

But the real story is not the mutual support in Somerville. It's about how they help their fellow firefighters.

The Northwest fire department in Houston, together with the Helping Hands program through the Texas A&M Forest service, donated a fire truck to Somerville.

"To get a truck at no charge from the forestry service….there [are] no words for it. It's unbelievable."

But the giving didn't stop there.

"We outgrew one of our old rescue trucks...we're going to have a foothold on what we need to do and we can turn around and donate a truck back to the forestry service through the helping hands division and let a department that is in need of something like that, have it at no charge."

Instead of selling their old truck, they donated it.

The circle of giving continues...from the community, to brothers and sisters keeping us safe.


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