The Mount Airy Fire Department recently received a $360,000 zero-interest loan from Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation.
The loan was used to help pay for a new 500-gallon pumper fire truck, which was delivered this month.
“It’s a tremendous addition to our fleet. It has many new safety features, durability and ensures the guys are going out there in a safe vehicle,” Chief Zane Poindexter explained.
The new truck will be used to replace one of two aging fire engines that was put into service in 1995. The city’s 1995 Sutphen pumper truck has undergone more maintenance in recent years, but the new Smeal pumper will help increase service reliability.
The funds were loaned by the membership corporation as part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. The program provides grants and interest-free loans to local electric cooperatives, who in turn lend the money to local governments and non-profit agencies for projects that support rural communities.
“We are very proud to partner with the City of Mount Airy to help meet this need for local citizens,” cooperative General Manager and Executive Vice President Greg Puckett said. “That is why our co-op was originally founded: to meet a need that existed in our community.”
This is the electric cooperative’s first economic development project funded through the USDA program. As funds are repaid to the co-op, the agency can re-lend the money to support new community projects in its service area.