Giving a boost

Hoosier Energy helps Union Volunteer Fire Department receive reliable communications

Hoosier Energy crews at Union Volunteer Fire Department

More than five years after its last recorded run, the Union Volunteer Fire Department is back in business with help from Hoosier Energy.

Located in Pike County, less than a mile from the Gibson County line, and within the service territory of Hoosier Energy member cooperative WIN Energy, Union needed a pole tall enough to receive the necessary communications.

With no local business able to fill the need, volunteer firefighter Rusty Hill knew who could. When the former Hoosier Energy employee reached out, his old employer agreed to donate the pole and send a line crew to install it.

Hoosier Energy crew installs pole

On Dec. 8, 2023, that installation was done by Hoosier Energy’s Petersburg line crew of Greg Dooley, Bob Murphy, Mark Richardson, Jon Worland, Camrin Wright, and DJ Wright. They dug the hole, mounted two antennas — a repeater on one side and communications on the other, set the pole, and ran the wires from the antennas to the bottom of the pole to move the fire department one step closer to action in the new year.

“Not every project has such a direct impact on a community, but we love being able to help people with a project like this,” said Hoosier Energy Manager of Delivery Services Todd Sims, who was also on scene and assisted in coordinating the effort. “It feels good to do something for folks who need it.”

The Union Volunteer Fire Department was founded in the 1970s and remained active through the 1980s and even into the early 1990s before losing momentum.

“It’s just had its share of hard times,” Hill said. “Our goal is to take a mix of older and younger guys to build it up and keep it going. We don’t want to be a flash in the pan. We want to set this up long-term because this area has a big void.”

They also hope to add emergency services to provide aid until an ambulance arrives from a longer distance away.

With reliable communications in hand, thanks to the recently installed pole, the Union Volunteer Fire Department will be ready if and when needed.