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Blue Ridge Energy Approves REDLG Funds for New River Volunteer Fire Department
Residents of the New River community will benefit from a new fire truck for New River Volunteer Fire Department made possible by a $276,000 Rural Economic Development Loan.
The loan was recently approved by Blue Ridge Energy with grant funds originally awarded to the cooperative through the government's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG). As part of the United States Department of Agriculture (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. It is an important tool in bolstering the economies of rural America, which are typically more challenged in attracting jobs and quality, affordable access to health care and other vital resources.
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 Dept. 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. We are also excited to know that our payments for this loan will one day help other rural fire departments afford much needed equipment,” Chief Houck explained.
“Blue Ridge Energy has a long history of helping make life better in our communities. We are very excited to be able to leverage these USDA funds to provide much needed help to rural fire departments like New River and will continue offering them through our revolving loan fund,” said Blue Ridge Energy Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson.
Blue Ridge Energy serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. Learn more at www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com or on the cooperative’s social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information on the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, please contact Grey Scheer or Jason Lingle at 1-800-451-5474.