"This is the first good one we have ever had," said Farr, standing back to admire the Ford mid-ship pumper Howardville received May 6. The fully-equipped $70,000 firefighting vehicle replaces a 1963 model which was in disrepair and is only the third one in the community's fire department history.
Funding primarily came through a grant written by Joe Lane with the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission. He explained the Federal Emergency Management Agency has a program to enable small communities, such as Howardville, to upgrade firefighting capabilities to better serve the local residents. Applying for this competitive funding, Howardville was awarded $63,000 in funds and matched it with $7,000 of the town's money to purchase the vehicle.
"This vehicle is designed to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Howardville," explained Lane.
It was a necessity, added Farr, who stated because of liability issues, the community no longer could depend on other towns' fire departments to come to their rescue. While they had a core group of volunteers for their department, they needed a dependable vehicle.
"Now we are just tickled pink with what we have," said Farr with a smile on his face. "Every citizen who has seen it is pleased as well."
The volunteers are headed by fire chief Charles Rowe with assistant chief Dee Moore. Others volunteering their time along with Farr are Tommie Fountain, Clayton Farr, Corey Rowe, William Austin and Tim Word.
According to Farr and Lane, the men will be fully trained on the vehicle. And as their training is completed, the mayor said there is the possibility for lower insurance rates for citizens.
"I hope we never have to fight a fire with it," added Farr. "But some day we will have to and we will be ready."