LUMBERTON — The Lumberton Fire Department will use a $5,000 grant from Georgia-Pacific to purchase equipment that will allow the addition of volunteer firefighters.
Chuck Oxendine, the general manager of the local Georgia-Pacific plant, presented Fire Chief Paul Ivey with a ceremonial check at the Central Fire Station Tuesday in front of firefighters, Georgia-Pacific employees and city officials.
Georgia-Pacific, an Atlanta-based company that manufactures paper and building products, annually gives Bucket Brigade Grants to fire departments that serve communities with Georgia-Pacific facilities or employees and are in need of money for equipment.
Ivey was “surprised and grateful,” saying the $5,000 will be used to buy coats, pants and helmets to outfit three or four new volunteer firefighters.
“We have numerous people interested in volunteering but don’t have the equipment,” he said.
The Lumberton Fire Department has 51 full-time firefighters, four part-time firefighters and two volunteers.
In August, the company acquired Buckeye Technologies, which has two sites in North Carolina, including one in Lumberton, making the Lumberton Fire Department eligible for the grant. This year, Georgia-Pacific decided to award its four new Buckeye communities with fire department grants, exempting them from the application process, according to Oxendine.
Fifty-five fire departments around the country received a total of $270,000 in Bucket Brigade Grants this year, the largest amount the company has given. Since the program began in 2006, Georgia-Pacific has contributed $1.25 million through these grants, according to the company.
The Lumberton Fire Department will receive its real check in the mail in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Ivey says he will proudly to display the nearly 4-foot version in station’s Fire/EMS education classroom, “where people can see it.”