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Palmer to get brand new fire station

Barron family steps up to donate land for new facility
For members of the volunteer fire department in Palmer, plans for a new station have been a long time coming.
The official groundbreaking ceremony to be held July 28, makes fire chief Ricky McElhaney very happy. The old fire station has seen better days, he said, and the new facility means better service to the community.
“The old station has a lot of structural problems because of its age, and it is not big enough to store the newer trucks and equipment in, so the new station will be better able to handle what we need to put in it,” he said. “The old one is also very limiting because it does not have an area for us to have meetings or training sessions in and we need more space.”
Fortunately for the firefighters, Palmer citizens think the department needs a new space as well. The Barron family has donated the land that the new station is to be built on.
The new facility will bear the name of Hughey Barron, a former volunteer with the department and a longtime community activist. Barron’s daughter Mary McBurnett, said enabling the building of a new station is an honor and her family is proud to have been able to help.
“Our family have been longtime supporters of Palmer, and my dad was a volunteer fireman here so to have the new station bear his name is a great honor and very special to us,” she said.
“We wanted to help the department out because the men are a dedicated, wonderful group of volunteers that have needed a station for a long time and work very hard for our community.”
The Palmer Volunteer Fire Department, with 30 volunteers on the roster, has now joined the Ellis County Emergency Services District.
McElhaney said the result will be beneficial for the department and the city of Palmer because now the burden of paying for services isn’t completely on their shoulders.
“Joining the Emergency Services District was a great thing for us because now the burden of cost is spread out fairly instead of some on the city and the rest through our fundraisers,” he said.
“It is a great thing to know that funding isn’t going to be as limited because of budget constraints.”
For McElhaney, volunteer firefighting has been part of his life since he was 15 years old, and he said he knows first hand how desperately needed the group is until a tax base can justify having a full time department.
“I have been on the department so long that understanding how vital volunteers are to the community is almost second nature,” he said.
“Palmer is made up of great people who do what they can to help their neighbor and until the city has a tax base that can support having full time firefighters, we’ll gladly keep doing what we do and taking care of what we’ve got.”
McBurnett has great memories of her father that her mother loved to tell her and her brothers as they were growing up.
“My mother always told us the story of how my dad was at every fire call that was made and how the guys would hang on to the back of the old truck and be driving through the city to help whoever needed them,” she said.
“It has been a great vision in my head for all these years and a great compliment to the people that make up the department.”
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Palmer fire house will be held at 165 S. Sherman St in Palmer, July 28, at 7 p.m.
The public is invited to attend.

Candie Beck-Adams is community editor for the Ennis Daily News. She can be reached at candie@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Jul 25 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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