HAPPY, TX (KFDA) - For the Happy Volunteer Fire Department, the process to raise money for a new fire station has been five years in the making.
With yearly fundraisers and accepting donations from the community, they say they're on track but still have work to do.
Happy Fire Chief Jerry Sims said a new building is long overdue.
"A lot of our walls are kinda coming down," he said. "A lot of the things are kinda rotten in here and the trucks just barely do fit."
He said their decades-old building has deteriorated over time.
"This building used to be a grocery store and then a mechanic shop and I believe we've had it since back in the 70's, you know, early 70's," said Sims. "We've put new roofs on and worked on it but it does need a lot of help."
As the fire department continues to acquire new equipment and vehicles this fire season, it has become difficult and expensive to upkeep the facility.
"We just purchased a new truck this past year. It was $258,000," said Sims. "We did get a Forest Service grant for $200,000 of it. But we still do need like, you know, $23,000 to finish paying it off. And once we get it paid off we're going to start on our building hopefully."
The local Happy State Bank has been helping the fire department with financing their new truck.
Branch manager Erica Reyes said they have also helped them in opening a savings account for the new fire station.
"Who do we have to lean on if there's, you know, a fire or an emergency or anything. They're right there," she said. "They drop everything to be there to help us so we just really need to support them."
So far, the fire department has raised $80,000, but Sims says they need about $400,000 more to finance the new building.
He said it could take another five years to finance the type of facility they need.
"We do hope to have pull through bays where you pull in the back and pull out the front," said Sims. "We're hoping to have meeting rooms, dorm rooms, have it very energy efficient where things would be a lot cheaper to heat and cool. But a lot of the stations where you can just pull in the back and pull out the front are a lot safer and you can fill your water up inside when it's cold or windy or at night. Nothing fancy, just something really nice and usable."
Sims hopes to have a building that will last for future generations of firefighters.
"We do have some younger ones starting, but we need to have a nice place for them to maintain, you know, and serve the people," he said.
You can help the Happy Volunteer Fire Department raise funds for a new building at their community fundraiser on Sunday, April 15 at 12 p.m. at the Happy Community Center.
All proceeds will go towards their New Fire Station Building Fund.