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Rural Ohio Fire Departments Receive State Funding

a photo of a firefighter and fire truck
Grant funds will help rural firefighters in Ohio.

More than 65 fire departments serving rural communities in the state are getting a funding boost from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). 

The ODNR’s Division of Forestry recently approved grant funding of more than $410,000 to aid in projects that include investing in personal protection and fire suppression equipment, obtaining utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), and upgrading communication systems, among other projects.

Gregg Guess is assistant chief with the Division of Forestry, He says local fire departments are the front lines for essential services in their communities.

"Rural fire departments protect, by far, the majority of land in Ohio, and the citizens that live out in smaller communities, they depend on these fire departments to provide protection. So, we're trying to supplement the limited funds that they have,” Guess said. 

The funds were made available through Ohio’s Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant program, which supports rural fire departments that serve communities with populations of less than 10,000 people.  

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.