MAYO — A labor of love, the Lafayette County Fire Department’s cause has been aided by two recent grant rewards.

The fire department, which is entirely volunteer, received a 50/50 grant from the Florida Forestry Service in the amount of $7,222.50 and 100 percent, no match, federal grant of $48,071.

The two grants will be used to supply the LCFD with airpacks, oxygen tanks, fire spec coats and pants, leather boots, fire helmets and fire hoods, as well as custom sewn fronts, rescue coats with custom lettering, rescue pants and several different types of gloves.

The items are to ensure the safety of the volunteers while performing life-saving tasks while responding to emergency calls for service, including fires and rescue efforts.

“We do it because it’s what we love to do,” said Fire Chief J.C. Lawson, who also is a paramedic.

The LCFD currently has 20 volunteers, and is one of the very few counties in the state that is strictly a volunteer service.

The fire department is also in the process of being approved for “in house fire certification,” which will in turn make it easier for recruiting and training volunteers for LCFD.

“A lot of effort is put into everything we do, by everyone here,” added Assistant Fire Chief and EMT Daniel Swords, echoing Lawson’s sentiments that the entire department takes pride in their work in the community, and love what they do, and all of the volunteers are a close-knit family.

The LCFD currently includes six operating emergency response vehicles,which include two fire engines, two tankers, one brush truck and the Squad 8 response truck.

Kara M. Compo is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government and police. ​

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