Because firefighters, paramedics and EMTs around the country put their butts on the line every day for others, Procter and Gamble created a kindness campaign just for them.
The Cincinnati company did a commendably quiet rollout this week, delivering 960 rolls of its Charmin toilet paper to one firehouse in each of the 50 states. That translates to nearly 50,000 rolls, a year’s supply per fire station.
Valley City Fire Department — a small, all-volunteer department in Medina County’s Liverpool Township, just west of Brunswick — was tapped by the Charmin Relief Project to be Ohio’s recipient.
Fire Chief Jack Petrone is overjoyed, as is EMT Tammy Nau who entered the contest on the department’s behalf. “I was on Facebook and saw it [the campaign] that said ‘Charmin Firefighter: Do you know a fire department in need?’ ”
Nau sure did and acted accordingly. “I was emailed more information. Then about three weeks later I was here when the call came, asking if anyone would be here to accept the toilet paper — a year’s supply.”
“We had no idea how much that would be until we got the delivery Wednesday,” Petrone said. “Just that it would be enough to take care of 20 firefighters for a year.”
Scott Mautz, Charmin’s regional brand director, said, “We wanted to help the brave men and women who put their behinds on the line day in and day out for others — America’s firefighters.”
The cash-trapped Valley City Fire Department has 35 firefighters, paramedics and EMTs, covering 25 square miles with two ambulances and five firetrucks. It has grown from rural to suburban over the years, now serving a population of 5,200. However, it’s essentially operating on the same budget it did in 1982 with a 2-mill levy it continues to renew. “We averaged 100 calls a year in the ’70s and we now do about 700 calls including hazmat,” Petrone said, adding that it is staffed daily, with personnel responding to calls at night from their homes. Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs are paid an hourly rate per call.
So, Charmin’s gift was much appreciated.
Firefighters often live in the firehouses and sometimes have to deal with subpar bathroom conditions, including having to purchase their own toilet paper which because of budget constraints can be like sandpaper, said Procter and Gamble’s communications manager Jay Gooch.
Even though Valley City Fire Department’s budget is stretched thin, Chief Petrone — who does the department’s shopping — insisted that he doesn’t scrimp on toilet paper purchases: “We’ve always used Charmin Ultra Strong because it is the best! I buy it at Sam’s Club at about $20 a pack.” That means Charmin’s delivery this week would retail for around $800. Nothing but the best for the best.
Money saved from the gift will be used for advanced training, Petrone said. “The money is just not there for that. … And we need new defibrillator monitors for our two ambulances. They cost about $30,000 each. The old ones are at least nine to 10 years old and they need to be replaced.”
Chief Petrone said he is forever grateful to Proctor and Gamble and Charmin for their generosity: “This is the first time anyone has done this, supplying a basic need. And it’s an Ohio company, too. … We’re grateful for anything we get! We go through cleaning supplies pretty quickly and we go through a case of coffee in a couple of weeks.”
Gooch said that in addition to the toilet paper donation, “Charmin also will be selecting five firehouses across the nation that will receive a bathroom mini-makeover to transform homely to homey and pull in elements inspired from firefighters’ own homes.”
Valley City Fire Department has two bathrooms and two showers. “They’re not user friendly because the showers are not close to the bathrooms,” Petrone noted.
So he has his fingers crossed that his department is on that list, too: “Every little bit helps for our department which is always doing the most with less and in the shortest amount of time to save lives and property.”
For a full list of the 50 firehouses receiving donations, please visit http://CharminRelief.com.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.