Bryan County first responders receive big donation

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

DURANT, OK -- A Texoma group and several Durant businesses teamed up to say thank you to emergency personnel in Bryan County.

Last summer the Durant Woodmen of the World, with help from local businesses, donated over 50 cases of water and Gatorade to Bryan County first responders.

They've done it again, with five times more water.

"When you're out there fighting a fire, that bottle of water is a lifesaver, believe me," Philadelphia Fire Chief Ron Parks said.

All of these Bryan County firefighters would agree that fighting fires in the Oklahoma heat can be exhausting.

So, the Durant Woodmen of the World wanted to help out.

"If we can help out by raising some water, and donating some goods to the local first responders you know that's something that we want to be able to do." Kyle Savage said.

About 250 cases of water and Gatorade are now in the hands of the first responders.

"They know that it's hot outside. They know the job we do. And we're very appreciative of them for acknowledging that," Durant Fire Chief Roger Joines said.

"Someone cares that you're doing a job. You're getting up at 2:00 in the morning to go put out a brush fire. You know, someone recognizes that and says thank you," Parks said.

There are 18 fire departments across Bryan County, most of which are volunteer, and they say donations like this one help keep them afloat.

Most departments in the county receive less than $5,000 each year from the state.

"With the money we did have, we had to make it spread as far as it'd go" Parks said.

But officials credit the new fire tax, which passed about a year ago, for the much needed improvements to Bryan County's emergency system.

"There's an enormous difference in our fire system after just one year," Brian Norton said.

Calera Fire Chief Brian Norton says because of the tax, most of the departments now bring in about $4,000 each month.

"Insurance ratings are coming down. Firefighter safety is going up. People's lives and property are being saved," Norton said.

But they'll always need support from the community.

"I thank everyone for the support for the fire departments. Because without them, we wouldn't be here," Parks said.

The Woodmen of the World say they're already planning next years event, and hope to be able to hand out more donations each year.

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