Halifax EMC Facilitates USDA Loan for Fire and Rescue Boat

Enfield-based Halifax EMC recently facilitated a 10-year, $150,000 zero-interest loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program that Long Bridge Volunteer Fire Department used to purchase a fire and rescue boat for use on Lake Gaston.

Members of the Halifax EMC Board of Directors, Long Bridge VFD and community leaders at the July 17 launch of the fire and rescue boat. Photo courtesy Phillip Sayblack, Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald.

“The 26-foot PackMan high speed welded aluminum fire boat is outfitted with a modified vee hull Landing Craft,” said Long Bridge Fire Chief Bruce Dunleavy. “The boat is Lake Gaston’s first fire and rescue boat of that caliber that is specifically designed for that purpose.”

Discussions to purchase a boat with fire and rescue capabilities began several years ago between the local nonprofit O’SAIL, which supports the Lake Gaston community, and several local fire departments. “O’SAIL is committed to continuing the support by raising funds to help Long Bridge pay off this loan so that others can benefit from the co-op’s community revolving loan program,” said O’SAIL board member Randi Dikeman.

This is the fourth zero-interest USDA loan secured by Halifax EMC to be utilized within Halifax and Warren counties. As these funds are repaid, they will be available to re-loan to assist with future projects in communities served by the co-op through its Community Loan Program, which is continuing to expand as more projects are already on the horizon.

“We are excited to support Lake Gaston by partnering with the USDA,” Halifax EMC Executive Vice President Charles H. Guerry said. “As a locally owned cooperative, it is our mission to support the communities we serve. This zero-interest revolving loan program allows us to support our communities far beyond our electric service, and we look forward to supporting future projects in the communities served by Halifax EMC.”