By: Bob Tucker
ADT Chief Storyteller
Over five days in December, I flew 5,000 miles across America to visit five volunteer fire departments in five towns. It was the fifth year of ADT partnering with the National Volunteer Fire Council to contribute $10,000 to each department.
At ADT, we believe volunteer firefighters are true American heroes because they run into burning buildings to battle blazes while others flee, and they don’t get paid.
These incredibly brave men and women are on the front lines of their communities, protecting residents and providing emergency services. Ensuring they are set up for success is the purpose of ADT’s annual campaign.
My first stop was the tiny town of Sierra Blanca, TX about 90 miles east of El Paso. Welcomed by Chief Manual Rivera, I toured the fire house and saw the outdated protective gear that the department intends to replace with its gift from ADT.
“We’ve used the gear since the early ‘90’s and there are holes and tears,” said Rivera. “Soon we will have new coats and pants so when we respond to fires and vehicle accidents, we will be better protected.”
The next day, I traveled to northern California, the scene of many devastating wildfires. Last year, the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department defended more than 200 square miles of wildlands in the hills above San Jose from the third largest fire in California history. Simultaneously, Covid curtailed its annual fundraising events like pancake breakfasts. A budget shortfall meant the department couldn’t purchase a new radio system. Now, with ADT’s $10,000 contribution, the department will get what they need.
“We are grateful for ADT’s generous recognition which we will put to good use,” said Rick Smith, Department President.
The third leg of my travels took me to upstate New York where I visited two volunteer fire departments. First up was Dansville where Malcolm Jarvis is the former Chief. His daughter, Heather Madonia was recognized with an ADT LifeSaver Award in February for helping save a family from an early morning fire. ADT’s gift will help the department hold more fundraisers since the money will be directed toward refurbishing the station’s kitchen.
“We prepare food for community events so updated equipment will bring in more revenue,” said Department Treasurer Bill Kershner.
A short drive later, I arrived at the Mendon fire station, home to dozens of volunteers including Chip Knapp, a 21-year veteran of ADT. When he’s not managing operations for ADT customers in three states, Chip spends his free time at the fire department. Extensive training enabled Chip to help save lives just like his day job.
Assistant Chief Dave Friedlander told me ADT’s $10,000 contribution will buy new nozzles for fire hoses.
“Professional firefighting gear is expensive so ADT’s investment in our department will make a huge difference,” Friedlander explained.
From New York, I jetted off to Maine where I met with members of the Readfield Fire Department. They received $10,000 for rescuing ADT customers Dennis and Carol Bouley from a carbon monoxide emergency in March. Awakened in the middle of the night by ADT, the Bouley’s believe the ‘silent killer’ would’ve claimed two more victims without the fast response.
“It was 2 a.m. when ADT monitoring called. We quickly headed to the Bouley home where we got them out and determined the source of the deadly fumes,” said Fire Chief Lee Mank. “It was a close call.”
Chief Mank told me they will expand and improve cramped office space in the fire station with the money from ADT.
As my travels concluded, I reflected on my journey, feeling proud that the company I work for invests in volunteer fire departments and is committed to making a difference in communities across America.