Water and Gatorade drive boosts resources for Liberty County firefighters

Pierce and Lucky Balch, two children from Liberty, dropped off a donation and then got to speak to firefighters and see a real fire truck up close.

After one of the most active fire seasons in recent history, sparked by a prolonged drought, Liberty County’s 16 fire departments are in need of replenishing supplies of water, Gatorade and shelf stable, nutritious snacks. Firefighters consumed copious amounts of water and hydrating drinks this summer as they battled these blazes.

In an effort to support these local heroes, the Liberty County Fire Marshal’s Office and Bluebonnet News organized a successful water, Gatorade and snack drive on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Jack Hartel Building in Liberty. In a four-hour collection period, they received more than 100 cases of water, 50-60 cases of Gatorade and other hydrating drinks, and several grocery bags full of individually-wrapped snacks.

It was heartwarming to see citizens stop by and give the firefighters who were assisting in the drive a word of encouragement or to thank them for what they do for the community. Two of the donors said they felt compelled to help after firefighters recently saved their homes.

Home Creations, a home builder in the Cleveland area, delivered several cases of water for this year’s water, Gatorade and snack drive.
David Lott, owner of Pro Tech Diagnostics and Repair in Moss Hill, and sons Tyler and Kyle dropped off 20 cases of water for firefighters on Saturday. Lott (right) is pictured with Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller, Asst. Fire Marshal Nat Holcomb and Liberty Fire Lt. Robert Edmonds.

In addition to the drinks and snacks, cash and check donations of $720 was collected with $500 of it coming from State Rep. Ernest Bailes and $100 from Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski. The money will be turned over to the Liberty County Firefighters Association and used to purchase more water and hydrating drinks in the coming days.

As the event began to draw to a close, firefighters representing many of the county’s fire departments stopped by the Hartel Building to pick up the donated items and transport them back to their stations.

Throughout the event, Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller greeted the donors. The businesses, organizations and candidates for public office that donated were:

  • Pro Tech Diagnostics and Repair
  • Home Creations
  • Bowen, Miclette and Britt Insurance
  • SNAP Fitness of Dayton
  • Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski
  • Attorney Michelle Merendino and husband Jared Merendino
  • District 18 State Rep. Ernest Bailes
  • Janice Holt, candidate for District 18 State Representative
  • Chance Maddox, candidate for Pct. 1 Constable
  • By Faith DHC
  • Outlaw Jacks

“I think the drive was very successful and we look forward to growing this event next year. I want to thank the citizens of Liberty County for participating. We will do a better job of getting the word out next year so more people can donate. We are very thankful for everything we received,” Hergemueller said.

If you missed the drive but still want to donate items or money, you can. Just make a check payable to Liberty County Firefighters Association and contact Asst. Fire Marshal Nat Holcomb to arrange a drop-off location. Call Holcomb at 832-472-7141.

Organizers of this event are already planning next year’s event, which will be held in September 2024.

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