North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will meet with firefighters and distribute grant checks to fire departments while in Watauga and Wilkes counties on Thursday, Sept. 3.
Seven Watauga County fire departments have received matching grants totaling $171,426 from the state. Commissioner Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal, will present ceremonial checks to the departments during the visit. The Beaver Dam, Deep Gap, Meat Camp, Seven Devils, Shawneehaw, Beech Mountain and Zionville volunteer fire departments have received the matching grants.
Commissioner Causey will also present grant checks, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, to the Brushy Mountain and Shepherds Cross-Roads volunteer fire departments during an afternoon stop in Wilkes County.
Commissioner Causey is concerned about the financial well-being of the state’s volunteer fire departments and has partnered with BCBSNC, the state’s largest health insurance company, to obtain grants to help ensure the departments can respond to their jurisdiction’s needs.
The money comes from a $500,000 BCBSNC grant to assist rural fire departments in North Carolina. The grants are going to volunteer fire departments that receive the least amount of funding from their local governments.
Most rural volunteer fire departments depend on fundraising events to supplement their government funding. The restrictions on public gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic have limited their ability to raise these funds.
While visiting the fire stations, Commissioner Causey will also listen to firefighters’ concerns and discuss ways to improve volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention.
Here is Commissioner Causey’s public schedule for Thursday:
9:45 a.m. – Zionville Volunteer Fire Department
6610 Old U.S. Highway 421, Zionville, N.C. 28698
10:40 a.m. – Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Department
4797 Highway 194 North, Boone, N.C. 28607
1 p.m. – Deep Gap Fire Department
6583 Old U.S. 421 South, Deep Gap, N.C. 28618
2 p.m. – Brushy Mountain Fire Department
7990 Brushy Mountain Road, Moravian Falls, N.C. 28654