De Luz Volunteer Fire Department among grant recipients

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors’ allocation of Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grants Sept. 12 included $20,000 for Camp Pendleton’s Devil Pups program, $10,000 to the De Luz Volunteer Fire Department, and $5,000 to Rock Rose School for Creative Learning.

The supervisors’ 5-0 vote will allow the Devil Pups to purchase uniforms and challenge coins, will provide fire-retardant gel and associated equipment to the De Luz Volunteer Fire Department and to two Fire Safe Council organizations, and will enable Rock Rose School to add base to the parking lot and purchase various items.

Each county supervisor has an annual $2 million discretionary Neighborhood Reinvestment Program budget. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program is intended to provide grants to non-profit organizations for the furtherance of public purposes at the regional and community levels.

In addition to non-profit organizations, county supervisors can also fund schools and fire departments, and supervisors can also use money from their budgets to supplement other county funding for specific county projects such as parks, roads, and libraries.

Each county supervisor recommends the allocation of his or her Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds, although those allocations must be approved by a majority of the board. Supervisor Bill Horn recommended the District Five Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds.

Horn and subsequently the other county supervisors allocated $10,000 apiece to the De Luz Volunteer Fire Department, the Palomar Mountain Fire Safe Council, and the Vista Fire Safe Council for the purchase of new fire gel kits along with pressure washers, hoses, storage caches, and educational materials.

“Wildfires are always a threat here in San Diego County and we have to be prepared,” Horn said. “These three $10,000 grants will ensure our North County homeowners have the tools and knowledge to best protect their homes and property.”

During the October 2003 Paradise Fire, the De Luz Volunteer Fire Department traveled to Valley Center and became the first fire department in San Diego County to use fire-resistant gel to save homes.

During the October 2007 Poomacha Fire, the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department utilized its supply of gel to create fire breaks and defend structures. The gel can be applied to equipment and vegetation as well as structures.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program was known as the Community Projects program in March 2008 when Horn utilized $80,000 of his Community Projects budget to provide gel to eight fire safe councils in the Fifth District. Barricade International, which manufactures the gel, provides a warning that the gel has a specific shelf life and must be reprocessed after several years to maintain its applicability and effectiveness.

The current Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant will reprocess the current stock as well as purchase additional fire gel kits for new homeowners. The educational materials inform homeowners about wildfire prevention as well as how to use the fire gel properly.

The Devil Pups youth program was founded by retired Marines in 1954. More than 50,000 boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 have attended the 10-day annual camp, and approximately 3,000 applications for the Devil Pups are received annually.

The “Growth Through Challenge” program includes physical fitness challenges, obstacle courses, educational sessions with Marine Corps personnel, and a tour of the USS Midway Museum. Each graduate receives an inspirational token of achievement, and the Devil Pups Challenge Coins will be funded by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant along with participant uniforms.

“I am a huge fan of the program and the valuable life lessons it teaches these teens,” Horn said. “I know this $20,000 grant will help change lives and build better futures for the graduates and the communities they live in.”

Rock Rose School provides early education to children in northern San Diego County and southern Riverside County and also hosts parenting classes and community events such as the Harvest Festival, the May Day Festival, puppet shows, and book clubs.

After enrollment demand exceeded the school’s capacity, Rock Rose School relocated to a larger facility in the 2800 block of South Mission Road in 2013, and in 2016 the preschool and kindergarten class was expanded into two classrooms.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant will help the school purchase and install an air and heating unit, chain link fencing for the chicken coop, 50 feet of base added to the parking lot which will prevent cars from slipping in dirt and mud, office supplies including a computer and software along with a printer, and furniture including chairs, a desk, shelves, a table, and a filing cabinet.

“The Rock Rose School has been providing pre-school education for 11 years and is a valuable resource for North County families,” Horn said. “This $5,000 grant will help take care of some of their basic needs.”

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