MISSION – Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) was on hand at city hall to present $1.02 million grant that will help the city hire nine additional firefighters bringing the total number to 77 firefighters.

The funds come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program. The firefighters will be hired over a three-year period.

“A few seconds can mean life and death,” Cuellar said of the importance of having the extra firefighters.

At the same ceremony, Cuellar presented a $500,000 grant for Birdwell Park, a new tennis complex with 13 new tennis courts, a revitalized trail and four playground areas.

With the new construction Birdwell Park will have 16 tennis courts, which is the minimum number of courts required by the United States Tennis Association to host national tournaments.