Fire Chief David Powell, holding back tears, walked unsteadily to the platform and struggled to say something, but was unable to talk. He motioned for someone else to step up and express his department’s gratitude to E-ONE for winning a Tradition ES pumper valued at $170,000.
‘Tell Us Your Story’
Powell leads the Powellsville Volunteer Fire Department, located in one of North Carolina’s poorest counties. It received more than 7,000 of 16,000 online votes cast for seven finalists in E-ONE’s “Tell Us Your Story” competition to give a new fire truck to a deserving department.
Powell’s wife, Cheryl, submitted the entry after she found papers by the family’s kitchen trash can indicating the department had lost out on a grant to buy an E-ONE pumper. “This meant something had gone wrong again,” she wrote.
E-ONE was one of a number of fire industry manufacturers who gave away products or announced substantial donations of money at this year’s Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis.
E-ONE CEO Peter Guile, microphone in hand, couldn’t resist taking a shot at Pierce Manufacturing while announcing the winner of the “Tell Us Your Story” contest. The two companies had expansive exhibits next to each other, and Pierce was partnering with Harley-Davidson to raise more than $100,000 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation while giving away a motorcycle.
“Nobody ever put out a fire on two wheels,” Guile boomed over the loudspeakers as he described what motivated E-ONE executives to give away a Tradition ES pumper.
“Not only did we want to give back to the industry in a big way, but we also wanted our employees to be a part of something meaningful,” he said. “Our employees are the driving force behind the success of the Tradition ES product line, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay it forward than by offering our Tradition ES pumper as a prize to a fire department in need.”
Financial Burden Lifted
The competition drew more than 650 entries. E-ONE launched it in January, months after returning to private ownership through a management buyout from Federal Signal Corporation.
After Chief Powell had time to recover from the shock that his department won the E-ONE pumper, he said his firefighters would be relieved. “A huge financial burden has been lifted off our shoulders,” he said, “and we can now focus on purchasing safety equipment like an extrication tool and turnout gear that our department cannot be without.”
Guile said he hoped the competition would raise awareness of the plight of many volunteer fire departments throughout the nation, and he issued an appeal for donations to them.
Following FDIC, E-ONE said fire departments in North Carolina and others in Indiana and Wisconsin offered to donate loose equipment, including hoses, nozzles and air packs, to Powellsville and other finalists.
Two sponsors of the E-ONE contest – Havis-Shields and Task Force Tips – made donations to the finalists. Havis-Shields gave tripod scene lights to the Hines (Ore.) Volunteer Fire Department, which finished second, and the Gallatin Sunnyside (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department, which came in third. TFT donated PRO/pak portable foam systems to all six of the runners-up.
E-ONE’s other contest sponsors were International, Maudlin International, Hale, Class 1, Akron Brass, R.O.M., Federal Signal Safety and Security Systems, UPF, O-Fab and RealWheels.
Pierce and Harley-Davidson launched their Full Throttle Support campaign to raise money for NFFF in January with a sweepstakes to win a custom, one-of-a-kind Harley- Davidson Fat Boy firefighter special edition motorcycle.
The sweepstakes drew nearly 12,000 entries and generated $135,000 for NFFF. Wilson Jones, the president of Oshkosh Corporation’s fire and emergency group, which includes Pierce, presented a check for most of the money at FDIC. The sweepstakes winner, selected last month, was Brian Vickers of Katy, Texas, a member of the Westlake Volunteer Fire Department.
The NFFF also benefited through a donation from Sperian Fire, which announced it is splitting $100,000 between the NFFF and the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Champion Rescue Tools also made a contest product donation at FDIC, giving away a Beast MultiTool to the Oxford (Ohio) Fire Department.