Beaverfork, Centerville, Greenbrier, Holland and Wooster recently received a $1,000 grant from the Arkansas Forestry Commission through the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program. 

This program provides funding for rural fire departments for training and equipping firefighters, and is aimed at assisting rural communities with populations of 10,000 or less to upgrade fire suppression capabilities. 

About $230,000 was made available statewide for the FY 2009 Program year. This is a 50 percent matching grant provided by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service with cooperation from the State Forester. 

The Arkansas Forestry Commission Accepts and approves the applications to the extent that funding permits. The 50-50 percent match can be either non-federal dollars or in-kind. 

The next grant cycle for the FY 2010 program year will begin in May of 2010 should funding still be available. On hand for grant awards were House Rep. Eddie Hawkins and Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin. Fire Chief David Johnson of Centerville, Charlie Parsons of Holland and Dennis Hutchinson of Beaverfork accepted the awards for their fire departments from the Arkansas Forestry Commission.