CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - The Port Aransas Fire Department received a new fire truck thanks to volunteer efforts of the Helping Hands program, an extension of the Texas A&M Forest Service.
"This is really part of that process of rebuilding," said Tom Boggus of the Texas A&M Forest Service. "Getting the first responders back on their feet. Getting them equipment to use when the need arises."
A survey was used to find out which fire stations had the biggest need for equipment. Port Aransas was at the top of the list.
"What people don't realize is there were a lot of victims, but sometimes, in this case, some of our first responders were some of our first victims," Boggus said.
Helping Hands put the word out and the Philomont Fire Department quickly responded. Two members drove the fire engine over 1,600 miles in 27 hours to meet the group of first responders they were helping.
"We could have had it hauled. We could have figured out a different way to get here, but that's not what we wanted to do," Philomont Fire Chief Rick Pearsall said. "We wanted to meet the people. We wanted to meet the people that were receiving the truck. We wanted to shake their hands. We wanted to wish them the best."
The community is grateful as they are now closer to rebuilding what was lost.
"We're fully operational, but this will replace one of the trucks that was lost," Port Aransas Fire Chief Chris Shanklin said. "We couldn't have done it without them. It's a great service. It's a great program."
The Texas A&M Forest Service is working to provide more fire engines to those locations still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
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