Business owner raises more than $7,000 to support Lorena Volunteer Fire Department

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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LORENA, Texas (KWTX) - The Lorena Volunteer Fire Department will be getting a huge financial boost to the tune of more than $7,000 thanks to an online fundraiser spearheaded by a local businessman and his wife in which they agreed to match donations following a 151-acre wildfire over the weekend.

Lorena residents Erin and Austin Montgomery challenged residents on Facebook to donate online and then vowed to match the donations given in 24-hours.

The one-day fundraiser raised $3,585 which the Montgomery’s gift then doubled.

“The values in my life Erin and I have been to serve and give back to the community in many forms and fashion,” Austin said. “Whether that be the school, whether that be nonprofits in and around Waco but Lorena being our hometown, where I have grown up, where I graduated, where our kids are going to be going to school. We felt the need to be able to give back to our Lorena Volunteer Fire Department.”

Austin was raised in Lorena where he graduated from Lorena High School in 2008.

Erin is a 2010 graduate from Robinson High School. The couple is raising their family in Lorena as business owners of JLM Contracting and The Roof Co. Waco.

They say they’ve always focused their personal and professional life on giving back so supporting the volunteer firefighters serving Lorena seemed like a no-brainer.

Austin had raised money for the department a few years ago and after watching the firefighters battle the large wildfire Saturday which took agencies from around the state 24-hours to contain, the timing seemed right to fundraise again.

“The volunteer fire departments, they don’t get paid. The volunteers, they are volunteers,” Austin said. “So, we have got to have money to take care of their equipment, to fuel their equipment, to take care of their buildings. You name it. They’ve got to have money to be able to operate and I thought what better time than now to be able to raise some money while this is going on to help our volunteer fire department.”

The thousands of dollars raised in such a short period of time is a testament to the respect the department has by many, Austin says.

“The Lorena Volunteer Fire Department they always take care of our community very well,” Austin said. “We have one of the best volunteer fire departments in the state and so what better way than to serve back to them and to take care of those guys who take care of us, the men and women over there.”

The Montgomery’s plan to deliver the check to the department on Friday.