By Maria Ruiz
Last Friday afternoon, Precinct 3 Commissioner Everardo ‘Ever’ Villarreal showed appreciation to the safety fire departments provide for the community by providing a luncheon.
“With 9/11 just around the corner, it was important for us to show appreciation to our first responders, our firefighters,” said Villarreal, who extended the invitation to surrounding cities such as McAllen and Edinburg.
“They put their lives on the line, every single call they get,” said the Commissioner.
Villarreal said he has seen the unity between fire departments, not only between the precincts, but all four counties as well.
In attendance was Mission Fire Department Captain Antonio Treviño Jr., who applauded the Precinct’s effort to support local first responders.
“He’s [showing] appreciation for all the first responders,” he said. “We help out there in the Precinct, especially when we help out the neighboring departments.”
The Captain also said it’s crucial for cities to work together for mutual aid and utilize grants.
“You can do a regional conduit, which means more money. More money means better training,” he said. “It helps out all fire departments.”
Treviño then gave spotlight to Pct. 3 field operators dressed in reflective vests.
“They come out and help with their tankers, and they come out and help us bring water,” Treviño.
With the proximity of areas between the Western Hidalgo County, rural places may be far from canals or water sources.
Director of Field Operations Jose M. Salinas dispatches the water trucks when a notification from Emergency Management is received.
“In rural areas there’s no fire hydrants,” said Salinas. “So we give them support with the water.”
When Pct. 3 Field Operations is not aiding first responders with water tanks, the division helps with equipment such as bulldozers to make fire walls.
According to Villarreal, the Precinct has continuously invested in water tanks and pipes to help control rural fires. “A lot of our areas in the County do not have access to water,” he said. “It’s important for us to be able to support them because a fire truck without water doesn’t really do any good.”
Aside from providing appreciation, Villarreal hopes the luncheon echoes the support to the dedication and work firefighters handle on a daily basis.
“We’re all a family. We’re all in the Rio Grande Valley and it’s important for us to support each other,” Villarreal said. “We need to work together to equip our first responders and firefighters with the proper equipment to keep them safe.”