Published: Aug 11, 2004 - 08:42:34 pm EDT Hooper Island VFC gets $101K By Dave Ryan, Daily Banner WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary Tom Ridge announced on Wednesday 236 grants to fire departments throughout the United States. The Hooper Island Volunteer Fire Company has been awarded a $101,250 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grants. These awards are administered by the Department's Office for Domestic Preparedness in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. A grant that large means a lot to a small company. Members of the Hooper Island VFC learned Wednesday from Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's office that the money had come through. In a phone conversation, their happiness was evident. "We put in a proposal to upgrade our radios," Treasurer Rosemary Dean said. "We applied for more turnout gear," and breathing apparatus, she added. President Steve Wilson said, "We're replacing stuff from the storm damage." While insurance covered much of Hurricane Isabel's damage, other expenses were paid by the fire company. Ms. Dean said Secretary Kathy Blake, a new firefighter, had done most of the grant writing. "She was instrumental," Ms. Dean said. The good news was kept from Ms. Blake until Wednesday night's meeting, when she was told of her success. The federal grants will ultimately total approximately 8,000 awards worth nearly $750 million in direct assistance to firefighters throughout the country, demonstrating Homeland Security's commitment to ensuring that America's firefighters have the resources they need to protect their communities. "President Bush and I strongly support the critical mission of our Nation's firefighters. Through these funds, we will ensure that our Nation's emergency responders have the equipment and training they need to respond to all hazards," said Secretary Ridge. "We recognize the importance of the Fire Act Grants to our Nation's fire departments and we will continue to work closely with the fire service community to meet their needs," added C. Suzanne Mencer, Director of the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP). Managing Editor Dave Ryan can be reached at (410) 228-3131 ext. 23 or banrnews@xxxxxxxxxxxx Post your comments on this issue at newsblog.info/0601.