Josh Cellars and NVFC Announce First Two $5,000 Training Grant Recipients

Josh Cellars wine was created by Joseph Carr as a tribute to his father – a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran. “Growing up, my dad Josh, our family, neighbors, and friends were all volunteer firefighters,” said Carr. “It is a civic duty shared and understood by all where I come from that you always take care of your community.” 

Knowing that funding adequate training is a struggle for many volunteer departments, the Josh Cellars brand partnered with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to support those who serve by awarding 10 volunteer fire departments each a $5,000 grant to help provide training to their members. The first two departments to receive the grants are the Couchton (SC) Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Highland Township/Ayersville (OH) Fire Department.

Couchton Volunteer Fire and Rescue

Located in Aiken, SC, Couchton Volunteer Fire and Rescue provides fire protection and first responder services to all citizens and travelers within 75 rural square miles. All 25 of its volunteers are certified as a Firefighter I or Firefighter II as well as in National Incident Management System, and some are also certified in wildland firefighting, automobile extrication, hazardous materials, pump operations, and rural water supply. The volunteers train weekly to ensure they are prepared and ready to respond; however, they currently are forced to travel over 75 miles out of the county to train and have to coordinate trainings based on other departments’ time schedules. Traveling to train forces the department to close periodically, leaving neighboring departments to respond to its calls, which adds precious and potentially life-changing minutes to response times. 

The Josh Cellars training grant will help the department to build its own live-burn facility, which will help Couchton volunteers, along with the other 20 volunteer fire departments in the county, the opportunity to train locally while still being available to respond to calls when needed. The plan is to construct a two-story training facility that includes a burn room and various props to practice breaching walls, crawling through confined spaces while wearing full turnout gear and air cylinders, extricating oneself from entanglements, and properly setting up ladders. 

“We would like to thank Josh Cellars and the NVFC for this grant,” said Assistant Chief Greg Bailey. “It will greatly enhance the skills and confidence of our volunteers.”

Highland Township/Ayersville Fire Department

The Highland Township/Ayersville Fire Department protects 16,000 residents in northwest Ohio. Not only does the department offer fire and emergency medical services, but its 27 volunteers also work to provide their community with an annual fire safety education week, presentations for schools and the public, annual fire inspections for commercial properties, free address signs, free smoke detectors, a location to drop off unneeded drugs or expired fire extinguishers, food gatherings, and more. 

Currently, existing members provide training to department personnel. The Josh Cellars grant will allow the department to seek out external subject matter experts to deliver trainings on new topics with new methodologies, which will expand their crew’s knowledge and skill sets. The grant will also allow them to purchase much-needed tools to supplement the trainings as well as send personnel to specific programs outside of their service area to garner different perspectives and experiences. Because leadership is paramount to the success of its operations, the department will focus some of the grant funds to provide training that will develop individuals into officers. Members are excited that they will be able to share their newfound education with other departments in their surrounding area to benefit other responders and local communities. 

“Our department is continuously improving in order to provide professionalism to the township as well as the City of Defiance,” said Chief Brian Berry. “We appreciate the award from the Josh Cellars training grant through the NVFC and will use this funding towards crucial training to not only keep us aware of dangers, but also safe from them. Training is a critical part of firefighting, and we are elated to be able to accelerate our training opportunities in 2018.”

To be eligible to apply for the grant, departments had to be over 50 percent volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be located in the U.S., and be a member of the NVFC. Additional awards will be announced through March 2018, so stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and NVFC Facebook page for additional information. 


About Josh Cellars

Josh Cellars offers bold, complex and approachable wines for drinking with family and friends. Sourced from vineyards across California, Josh Cellars offers seven varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Rosé and a red blend, “Legacy.” Josh Cellars wines are available at retailers nationwide. Learn more at


About the NVFC

The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable resources, programs, education, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. Learn more at

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