In the past, we used to donate money from time to time to the local fire companies but we decided to really start giving after we saw just how bad the need was. Some of our local volunteer firefighters respond to fires wearing fire jackets that are no longer fit for service (like the remnant I am holding below):
But it does not end there – our community ambulance companies use basic life-saving equipment that is worn out, 7 of the 11 playgrounds in the city of Hazleton need major repair so our children can have a safe and fun place to play, only 3 of the 5 fire engines in Hazleton had carbon monoxide detection equipment to identify that deadly gas, our local Rails to Trails organization needed funding to conduct a chainsaw training class so their volunteers could keep the trail open, and so on and so on.
Once we realized just how urgent the need was, we felt we had to take action. We know that a strong company can only exist in a strong community. Our business thrives because we are based in an area with a deep work and volunteer ethic and we need to help maintain that spirit. Also: how, as either a business or as individuals, can we ask the volunteers and professionals who protect our property and safety to do their jobs with obsolescent or non-existent equipment? Yet every day many individuals and businesses unconsciously demand that very service.
Some businesses would argue that this is foolish spending – that it only hurts the bottom line. Did this donation “hurt” our bottom line? From a strictly monetary standpoint, yes it did. Was this donation worth it? In our estimation, yes it was – every last penny.
Fortunately, not all businesses think that community giving is foolish. Let me thank Hitwise (a leading online competitive research firm) and Rugman.com (a great source for REAL Persian carpets at fantastic prices) for their donations to the West Hazleton Fire Department. The $1,100 they donated will go a long way to helping that department modernize its equipment. Assistant Fire Chief Ward is shown below (at right) accepting the Hitwise and Rugman.com checks.
Full details of our 2006 Community Giving Program can be found here.