Last month, when we saw a story from Ronnie Dahl at WXYZ about the abhorrent condition of furniture within Detroit fire stations, we had to step in. We are not talking slightly worn furniture with retro flair. We’re talking about chairs bolstered by milk crates, relics from the 1940s with exposed nails, and the item I personally found the most inexcusable – a recliner that stank of cat urine. This was not the way for a community to show its appreciation for the men and women, fire fighters and medics, that work tirelessly to keep Detroit safe, and play an integral role in our city’s renaissance.
As a first step, we at Gardner-White donated more than $10,000 worth of merchandise to outfit Detroit Fire Department Squad 5, which is located at Livernois and Curtis. This squad was just reopened this year and serves more than 20 square miles of Detroit. Even in the short time we were there, these guys were in and out responding to calls continuously. The team from the barbershop across the street even came out applauding, and shared with us how hard Squad 5 works, and how desperately they need a comfortable place to rest.
Inspired by this, Ronnie Dahl from WXYZ and the Suite Dreams team held a campaign to raise funds for other Detroit fire stations. What’s great and unique about our community is that we always step up and band together in times of need, this time raising $11,782, which was doubled by Gardner-White with a matching dollar-for-dollar commitment. We were able to deliver almost $24,000 worth of furniture to Detroit fire stations.
This was easily my favorite day on the job. These guys clearly take pride in their stations – I’ve never seen such neat restrooms. Also, when you look at a fire crew or medic coming back from a job, they’re clearly beat! I’m exhausted and I’m just sitting at a desk or walking a sales floor, this work is 100x more physically draining, making rest all the more important. Also, I’ve never seen such an appreciative bunch, who clearly go above and beyond daily. In my short couple of hours, I saw the members of one squad do their daily check-in on an elderly gentleman next door who doesn’t have any family in the area, and another squad get all the kids coming from school out of the streets and into their homes when they heard of a police chase in the area. There is no doubt in my mind that without these guys, our city doesn’t stand a chance.
And on a lighter note, a dining tip – the final squad we visited was a 4700 Fort Street. I loved this, as you could see the site of the original Gardner White from 1912 just down the block. Hands down, this squad makes the best chili and pico de gallo in Detroit. Find yourself an invitation!
— Rachel T., Gardner-White President