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State representatives donate food and supplies to the Summitville volunteer fire department on Jan. 29. Pictured, from left  are TCDI chief operating officer/chief of staff Jennifer Peck, Summitville VFD training officer Micheal Hopkins, State Rep. Rush Bricken, TDCI commissioner/state fire marshal Carter Lawrence, Summitville VFD firefighter John Acup, State senator Janice Bowling, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell, and TDCI Assistant commissioner for fire prevention Gary Farley.

The Summitville fire department received a donation of food and water for its volunteer fire fighters from the State Department on Jan. 29.

Captain John Acup, of the Summitville department, said, “The event allowed the State to show their appreciation for the local fire departments across the State, as well as improving different programs for the various departments.

“Without State support it would be hard for rural fire departments to operate, and events like this help local departments like ours see our importance,” Acup said.

Departments, such as the Summitville Volunteer Fire Department, are integral in maintaining the safety of numerous rural areas that would be too far out for city fire departments to reach in the quickest manner.

Speed is crucial when one more minute of a fire could be the difference between losing a home to losing an entire swath of land.

“For the Summitville department we are able to respond to fires in under 11 minutes,” Acup said. “We have multiple stations in the area that help contribute to this speed, and this speed lets us ‘Save lives, save animals, and save property.’”

Community is the cornerstone of fire departments across the State, as volunteers are the backbone of the firefighting force.

“I’ve been a firefighter for 24 years even before I moved here,” Acup said. “I’m proud to keep doing the job, and I’ve got a great group of people that I work with.”

The department is involved in other community service projects, namely numerous fundraisers and an annual toy drive.

If anyone would like to support local fire departments, Acup mentioned a few things that go a long way.

“Go to fire safety events, teach your kids about fire safety, and call your local department if you have any questions about fire safety,” Acup said.