This honor has only been given to a handful of people for the 75 years this fire company has existed. They said that they picked me because…
…of my work in organizing “Senior Safety Saturdays” twice each year for the past 15 years in the neighborhood and fire company’s service area. Senior Safety Saturday is an event held twice a year (Spring and Fall) where I get significant donations from major home supplies retailers to acquire smoke alarms, batteries, better and stronger lighting, safety grab bars, non-slip bath mats, and similar items. I recruit volunteers who check homes of seniors to determine the safety needs, then on the designated “Safety Saturday,” they install the required safety items. Many of the volunteers are firefighters.
I do this project in testament and memory of my mother, whose home (and a few of her neighbors) became my first “experiment” in this type of voluntary effort.
The project has come a long way. We have improved safety for over 1,200 seniors and have collected (and spent) over $150,000 in donations for this non-profit activity in the 15 years and 29 events held since 1997. Unlike some other non-profits, I do this entirely as a volunteer, collecting no overhead. 100% of the donations go to actual program expenses.
The guys in the fire house presented me with a “volunteer uniform”, including a ballcap, set of shirts, and — guest what — a pair of Chippewa Station Boots! Yep, the same boots about which I have raved for years for motorcycle riding. Yep, these guys actually wear these boots themselves.
This was a wonderful and meaningful gesture among my buddies at the station. I look forward to the annual dinner in the Spring where a formal induction ceremony will be conducted.