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Fired Up to Help: Retailer Supports Fire Department in a Big Way

Each year, the Sugar Creek Fire Department hosts a Fire Protection and Life Safety Open House. And every year since 2007, Rob Walker, owner of New Palestine Hardware in New Palestine, Indiana, serves as a major backer for the event.

The open house features junior firefighter combat challenges, emergency medical training simulators, safety demonstrations, kids’ activities and more, says Beth Gulley, fire and life safety educator for the Sugar Creek Fire Department.

“We are lucky to work and live in a tight-knit community that supports our efforts,” Gulley says. “Our event offers a free fun-filled day of learning and activities centered around fire, injury and illness prevention.”

Walker’s networking in the community not only expands reach for the event, but unites community businesses, with local insurance agent Brent Reece working with the fire department and Walker to make the event a success.

“Fire Prevention Week in October is near and dear to my heart,” Walker says. “Supporting the fire department is an easy way to spread the word about fire safety and help our customers.”


From Retailer to Firefighter

At Bartlett Lumber, which has 10 locations in the Texas panhandle, owner Terrill Bartlett and several of his employees are volunteers with local fire stations and EMT units. As part of their firefighter duties, Bartlett Lumber employees take part in community activities like the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and fire prevention programs at local elementary schools.

“The Canadian fire department takes the pumpers and ladder truck to the school campuses,” Bartlett says. “We talk to the students about fire safety and then load them in the fire trucks to take them around town with sirens and lights blaring. They have a blast, and so do we.”

When an employee is working at any of the store locations while on call as a firefighter, they do not have to clock out if they leave the store for a fire or EMT emergency.

“We still pay them for the time they are away from the store because I want them to focus on staying safe and completing their volunteer duties,” Bartlett says. “We’re grateful for our employees and appreciate that they want to go the extra mile in our communities.”


Buck’s Ace Hardware Donates Grills and Supplies to Local Firehouses

For Buck’s Ace Hardware, giving back is a natural part of business. The company gives back to the community in different ways, including donating grills to local firehouses. Jake Hurst, sporting goods and barbecue manager for Buck’s Ace Hardware, which has three locations in Utah, says the company partnered with Traeger to provide the grills and pellets.

“We are always looking for ways to give back, and this was a great way to honor our local firefighters,” Hurst says. “So far, we have donated grills and pellets to 13 staffed firehouses in the area. And we plan on continuing to donate a grill to every new firehouse that opens in our community.”


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About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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