STATESVILLE – A McDowell fire agency was one of several local, agricultural-related organizations awarded grants this year by the Corporate Mission Fund.

In 2014, Carolina Farm Credit established the Corporate Mission Fund to provide grants to local, non-profit ag related organizations and scholarships to N.C. college agriculture students. 2018 marked the fourth year the Association awarded grants. Nearly 100 grant applications were received for the program in 2018, and awards were granted in the last quarter. $152,100 was awarded to 28 local organizations and 12 college students in 2018.

Among the local organizations awarded include the Sugar Hill-Montford Cove Fire Department, which obtained a $1,900 grant through the Association.

Most of the geographical area covered by this department is remote mountain regions popular with hunters, hikers, timber cutters, and farmers. Often these areas are accessible only on foot and rescue and recovery efforts are slowed by the exertion of carrying a victim on a stretcher. Grant funds will be used to purchase a litter (a lightweight, basket-type, portable stretcher) equipped with straps to secure the victim, along with a single wheel to attach to the bottom to make movement easier along single-track paths and trails.

“As is the case with any of our equipment, we never look forward to having to use it but we do look forward to being more prepared to serve the citizens of our community and neighboring communities when the need arises,” said Sugar Hill Fire Chief Joe Washburn, who said the equipment is due to arrive within the next two weeks. “Sugar Hill-Montford Cove Fire Department would like to thank Carolina Farm Credit for the opportunity to apply and for the funding so that we may be better prepared when an emergency presents itself..

The Association will begin advertising again for this grant program early in Jan. 2019 and hold a luncheon for all grant recipients in May.

“Our Corporate Mission Fund allows us an opportunity to support grass roots organizations that are making a difference in their rural communities. We are also thrilled to be able to support these college students furthering their education with the scholarships." Vance Dalton, CEO, Carolina Farm Credit.

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