Riggleman to donate paycheck to DBVFD

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fifth District U.S. House of Representatives Denver Riggleman (R-) will donate his paycheck in light of the recent government shutdown to the Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department (DBVFD).

Riggleman announced the news Monday in an online post across social media platforms.

“During the recent government shutdown I will not take a paycheck. Instead, I will donate my check to Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department in Charlotte Co.” said the post. “They were recently devastated by Hurricane Michael. Their community came together after an awful tragedy. We can learn from them.”

Drakes Branch Fire Chief Kenny Tharpe said Riggleman visited the town after Hurricane Michael to do a walk through and seemed genuinely concerned.

Following the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the town suffered extensive damage including the flooding and temporary closing of the Drakes Branch Post Office, the flooding of local businesses and the flooding of the municipal building, which includes the fire department.

At an Oct.17 community meeting held by the Town of Drakes Branch, results were discussed from a recent flood study conducted by the town’s consultant A. Morton Thomas and Associates due to a history of flooding in the town.

At that time, Associate Don Rissmeyer, A. Morton Thomas and Associates, said the lowest point of water across Main Street in Drakes Branch during Hurricane Michael was probably about 3 feet deep.

He said the fire department even had to move two vehicles out at the advice of an engineer for fear the building might collapse.

“He said he wanted to help. He held his promise. He is also going to help with the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) process,” said Tharpe.

“I am very grateful for congressman Riggleman’s gift toward our new firehouse,” said Drakes Branch Town Council Member Noah Davis. “Ever since he toured the flood damage from Hurricane Michael, I know he genuinely cares about our town and fire department. I look forward to working with him in the future as we build our new fire house and municipal building.”

The Town of Drakes Branch is currently in the process of securing funds to build a new joint fire department and municipal building in the town.

Previously, the Commonwealth Regional Council’s (CRC) Executive Director Melody Foster said the municipal building floods often.

“Every time we go down there, they’ve actually marked the floor, and the first time we went down there — and this is just one example — there’s a crack in the floor about this big now, it’s this big,” Foster said previously, noting a sizable increase at a previous CRC meeting. “The walls have cracks in it; you can visibly see it pulling away.”

Tharpe previously said in the fire department section of the building, the floors are sinking and the walls are cracking.