Local business provides grants to local VFDs
Published 3:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation awarded more than $21,000 in grant funding to the Spring Hill and Banks volunteer fire departments for the purchase of life-saving equipment. The grant awards were celebrated with a gathering of firefighters, members of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and Firehouse Subs representatives at Firehouse Subs in Troy Wednesday.
Meghan Vargas, senior manager of Foundation Development, said the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“Firehouse Subs co-founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi where they fed first responders as well as survivors,” Vargas said. “As they traveled back to Florida exhausted and exhilarated, they knew we could do more and the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was born.”
The grant awards to the two Pike County volunteer fire departments were examples of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation’s continuing commitment to improving the life-saving capabilities and the lives of local heroes and their communities, Vargas said.
The Spring Hill Volunteer Fire Department received a thermal imaging camera and gas meter at a cost of $6,410.
Jeff Helms, chief of the Spring Hill volunteer firefighters, said the camera will be used to detect body heat and hot spots in burning buildings.
“With this camera, we could find a person in a smoke-filled room by the detection of his body heat,” Helms said. “We could also detect exactly where a fire is within a wall. The camera is a valuable piece of equipment and can save lives and property.”
Helms said the gas meter will assist in detecting hazardous gases in dangerous environments.
Helms expressed appreciation to Firehouse Subs for the grant that made it possible for the Springhill volunteer firefighters to have equipment that would not have been available without the financial assistance.
Shayne Brown, chief of the Banks Volunteer Fire Department, also expressed appreciation for the financial support of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
“There is no way, with our limited budget, that we would have had the $14,810 necessary to purchase a new skid unit,” Brown said. “This new skid unit will replace our old unit and give us the ability to get into rural areas that we couldn’t reach with traditional emergency vehicles.
Rex Lewis, local Firehouse Subs franchisee, said he is pleased that his employees get behind Firehouse Sub’s fundraising efforts to provide funding, live-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first-responders and public safety organizations.
“Our employees ask customers to round up their bills to the nearest dollar, drop their spare change in a bucket or purchase pickle barrels for $2,” Lewis said.
“All funds that are raised benefit the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. We appreciate the efforts of our employees to encourage donations and to our customers for their support of the heroes in our community.”
The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given more than $18 million to hometown heroes in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
More than $1 million has been donated in Alabama.