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Rep. Hinojosa presents checks to Refugio County

By JR Ortega
Oct. 22, 2010 at 5:22 a.m.

Mayor Rey Jaso and several other Refugio city officials  listen to Rep. Ruben Hinojosa talk about the significance of the two federal grants the county received.

REFUGIO - Don Pullin has been the Refugio fire chief for the past 29 years.

The fire chief has seen a lot of change in the fire department since his childhood days when his father was chief and, on Friday, he prepared for more change when U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, presented a $60,000 grant for two new brush trucks at the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce.

The congressman also presented a $100,000 USDA housing-preservation grant, which will be used to repair at least 35 homes in the county.

"It's an honor for a small town to have a congressman come talk," Pullin said. "You don't get a congressman in town everyday."

Hinojosa, whose District 15 spans 12 counties from the Rio Grande Valley up to DeWitt County, also commended the city's efforts for not letting grant opportunities go by.

"I know these funds are going to allow Refugio County to help those who need help," Hinojosa said.

Indeed it will, Pullin said.

The two new brush trucks, one which has already been purchased and the other that is on its way, will replace brush trucks made in the mid-1980s that are still in operation, Pullin said.

"We're a small town and small community. Everything costs us the same as a big city," he said. "Without this grant, it would be almost impossible to get the trucks."

Refugio has three brush trucks, four engine trucks, two tankers and several other vehicles, Pullin said.

"I know the devastation brush fires can cause. The fire can kill our livestock and destroy our homes," he said. "I think it's time (Refugio) gets these new trucks."

The congressman also commended the city on its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, which started at a church to help repair homes that needed it.

Only six or seven communities receive the housing-preservation grants, said Jake Sheeran, the U.S. Department of Agriculture area director.

Lenny Anzaldua, the president of the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce, was excited about that aspect.

"To receive a grant was unbelievable," Anzaldua said.

Because of the efforts in its reparation program and speedily applying for the grants, Hinojosa said he knows the funding will be put to the best use, he said.

"The funding will help the entire community," he said. "Please take pride in your beautiful city, county and especially the people here in Refugio."



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