(Submitted) BRICEVILLE, TN—Members of the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department gathered earlier this week, with residents of the local community, and federal, state and county officials, for an official ribbon-cutting at the department’s new fire station.
Harkening back to his time as a former volunteer with a local fire department, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, who was in attendance, praised the department for its service to the community and its people.
“I know the dedication it takes to be a volunteer, to put yourself in harm’s way in service to others. That takes a lot of heart, and this community has a lot of heart,” McNally said after the event.
“USDA-Rural Development is very happy to have partnered with the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department in the construction of this new Fire Hall,” said Dan Beasley, deputy director of USDA Rural Development in Nashville. “This type of project is the very definition of what Rural Development does on a daily basis across Tennessee. We are very proud to have assisted the community and its people in financing this new fire hall and we know it will serve Briceville and its residents well, for years to come.”
Briceville VFD Chief Jamie Brewster praised the community and gave the USDA and credit specialist Kirk Morris extra thanks “for being with us every step of the way.”
Brewster said the fire department is planning to host a lunch-time open house in the near future.
“This whole project started with a prayer and the vision of Chief Brewster,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “His Board got behind that vision and the community got behind it.”
Mayor Frank thanked USDA, state leaders, county officials, and the community for standing behind the project. Also delivering remarks at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting were: Kirk Morris; Kim Butler, on behalf of her husband, State Representative Ed Butler; Sheriff Russell Barker; and County Commissioners Shain Vowell, Tim Isbel, and Tracy Wandell.
The path to building a new fire hall in Briceville started years ago. In 2019, officials with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced a grant to the Briceville VFD for $80,700 and a loan of $74,200, along with a county match of $30,000 to make the dream of a new station a reality.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the project hit a number of snags. Market disruptions affected bidders; supply chain issues created cost increases and forced reworking of the project; scaling back, new bids – and, also, the need to close a funding gap for price increases that were not going away.
It took time to make it all happen, but the project is finally complete, and the new station is well on its way to years of service to the residents of the Briceville community.
Briceville Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1978.