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Kentucky Farm Bureau donated $8,000 last week to be split evenly between Rowan County’s rural fire departments. From left are Hayes Crossing-Haldeman assistant chief Austin Knipp, Elliottville Chief Jackie Thomas, Rowan County Farm Bureau Federation President Danny Mabry, federation vice president Lee Pennington, Farmers Fire Chief Darrell Glover, and Route 377 assistant chief Darren Blevins. (Photo by Brad Stacy)

Four Rowan County firefighters were all smiles last Tuesday night during the Rowan County Farm Bureau Federation’s monthly meeting at the office on West Main Street.

Each of the four county fire departments were gifted $2,000 each for the groups to use as they wish.

“We used to have a fish fry every year,” said Danny Mabry, Federation President. “For more than 35 years we would have tons of people come out and participate. That’s up until the last few years where no one showed up and we would throw most of it away.”

Mabry said instead of potentially wasting that money on food that may not be eaten, why not give it to rural fire departments who could make that funding go a long way.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Mabry said. “You guys go out late at night and help serve our community and we are going to donate this money to you. Use it for equipment or whatever you need.”

Mabry said because of the efforts of these fire departments, the safety ratings (ISO) increase meaning that directly saves money for Farm Bureau customers.

“On behalf of the federation, it was unanimous to give you this donation,” he continued. “We owe a lot to our first responders and hopefully this can be used to help continue making this a great community to live in.”

The representatives of the four fire agencies on hand said this level of a monetary donation is rare. It’s an offering that will go a long way in improving not only the fire department, but indirectly the communities these firefighters serve as well.

“It means a lot for our community,” said Darren Blevins, assistant chief of Route 377 Fire Department. “This is going to fuel our trucks, pay for our insurances, and so much more. For someone to give us this amount it’s a big deal.”

“This will likely go toward updating some fire equipment,” said Austin Knipp, assistant chief of Hayes Crossing-Haldeman Fire Department. “We will most likely put it before the membership and see where it best fits to make us as efficient as possible.”

“This is wonderful. Let’s just make it an annual thing,” laughed Jackie Thomas, Elliottville Fire Chief.

“Nearly every rural fire department has issues fundraising so to have a gift like this is an amazing thing,” said Darrell Glover, Farmers Fire Chief. “It may not seem like a lot to some, but this will go very far in the fire service.”

Brad Stacy can be reached at bstacy@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.