U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth announced last week Tonto Basin Fire District will receive $36,874 in federal funds.
Tonto Basin Fire District is one of 354 fire departments in the nation chosen to receive a grant in the latest round of awards under the Assistance to Firefighters grant program.
The fire district will contribute $4,097 as its share of local matching money.
The funds will be used for fire operations and firefighter safety, including training, firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment.
"The events of Sept. 11 and the extremely high threat of wildfires in the West have given all of us a greater sense of appreciation for the valuable and heroic service of our firefighters," Hayworth said. "I am proud to be a strong supporter of the federal funding that made these grants possible and congratulate the Tonto Basin firefighters on their selection to receive a portion of the funds that were appropriated."
Tonto Basin Fire Chief Paul Gross had not yet heard the good news when he was contacted by the Roundup.
"Talk about a shock, this has just knocked me off my chair," Gross said Thursday. "This is the first I've known about it. Wow, this is celebration news! My heart is going about 2,000 miles a minute. That's a big hunk for us ... That's really going to help us upgrade our equipment. And of course, we need everything. Wow, that's a shocker."
The grants are presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through its United States Fire Administration.
Congress appropriated $150 million for the firefighter assistance program for the 2002 budget year and provided $210 million in supplemental appropriations to be available through fiscal year 2003.