Helping our hometown heroes

Helping our hometown heroesThe rain didn't stop people from coming out to support Western EMS and getting a delicious meal from Firehouse Subs. Provided photo.

This week is Emergency Medical Services week – a special week to honor “the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s front line.” As they put themselves at risk everyday, they have earned the name “hometown heroes.” 

There is an organization that is doing its part to make sure our hometown heroes have the help and support they need.

Helping our hometown heroes

Pictured, is the Firehouse Subs food truck. Provided photo.

In 1994, Firehouse Subs, founded by firemen, opened for the first time in Jacksonville, Fla. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 they organized a Public Safety Foundation. The sole purpose of the Foundation is to fulfill grants for lifesaving equipment, disaster relief and training for emergency services agencies. Since its start, the Foundation has granted over $50 million to provide equipment, training and support to hometown heroes. 

Today, Firehouse Subs is going strong with almost 1,200 restaurants nationwide. 

Locally, Jamie Mullen and Jeff Rosenheck, two firefighters / EMT’s for Greater Valley Emergency Medical Services opened Firehouse Sub Shops in Ithaca and Syracuse. 

Helping our hometown heroes

Firehouse subs is pictured at Western Alliance Station 16. Provided photo.

In 2019, they donated $416,00 to various emergency services agencies. Last year Firehouse Subs granted $64,000 from the Ithaca shop alone to area first responders; $25,000 was donated to Athens Borough Fire Department for turn out gear; and $24,000 was donated to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department for AEDs for their patrol cars.

“We just did a $15,000 grant for Lockwood Fire and EMS, just outside of Lockwood, N.Y.,” said Mullen.

In spite of restaurant closures during this time of social distancing, Mullen and Rosenheck, along with District Manager Christian Kovacs have kept the local fundraising going by using food trucks rather than eat in sub shops. They have brought their delicious subs into area communities in order to keep the fundraising going. 

On the weekend of April 24, 25 and 26, the Firehouse Subs food truck was set up at Western Alliance Emergency Services (WAES), Station 16 in Troy, Pa.

 “It was the best fundraiser we’ve ever had,” said WAES CEO Rodney Decker. “And certainly the most delicious!”

Decker continued to explain that when Firehouse Subs does a fundraiser for an organization, 10 percent of the sales go to the first responders. After the weekend at Station 16, Firehouse Subs donated over $1,600 to WAES.

“There was no cost to us,” said Decker. “We didn’t even have to do anything. They just parked in our lot. They had their own generator for their electric use.”

“The only thing we had to give up was the Operations Manager’s parking space for the day,” added Jim Cook, WAES operations manager. “That was a small price to pay.”

Helping our hometown heroes

Social distancing while supporting local first responders. Provided photo.

“They sold over 1,500 subs and almost 400 sides,” said Decker, who explained that they sold out Friday and Saturday night.

“The demand was so high after the first two days at Station 16 we ran out of lettuce and had to source some from local grocery stores,” said Kovacs. “I was up at 2:30 Sunday morning chopping lettuce.”

Firehouse Subs offers a variety of subs and sides. Their menu can be found at or on their Facebook Page – Firehouse Subs Food Truck. Also check Facebook for when and where they’ll be in an area near you.

At Firehouse Subs they believe that “making great subs is not enough; you have to do good, too.”

Helping our hometown heroes

From left, Christian Kovacs and Jamie Mullen, from Firehouse Subs, present a check to CEO Rodney Decker and EMT Melissa Fletcher at Western Alliance Station 16 in Troy. (Photo by C. R. Wagner)

And that’s exactly how they were helping our hometown heroes at Station16. 

“We had such an overwhelming response from our community,” said Rodney Decker. “Thank you to all who came out, especially on those rainy days, to support our first responders here at Western.”

Yes, it’s Emergency Medical Services Week. But our first responders are out there every day of every week. And they deserve our thanks every day.

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