The Brighton, Mich., club has started a new holiday tradition by seeking cash donations from members and the public for the Highland Park Fire department, and releasing a “wish list,” which includes exercise equipment, twin-size bedding, white tees and snack bars. The goal is to raise $5,000 in cash as well to help purchase much-needed items, including gloves, hoods, boots or power tools, to help the firefighters do their jobs on a daily basis.
The staff at Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton, Mich., has started a new tradition by adopting a firehouse, the Livingston (Mich.) Daily reported.
Nina Brinker, the club’s Director of Food and Beverage, said the idea came from the part- and full-time staff who wanted to “do something” to give back during the holidays, the Daily reported.
“We brainstormed and came up with adopt a firehouse,” Brinker said.
A firefighter friend of Brinker’s suggested the Highland Park Fire Department might benefit the most from donations. Brinker and Dori Gulick, the club’s member relations coordinator, toured the department’s station and shared their findings with the country club staff, which agreed to adopt the firehouse for the holidays, the Daily reported.
In August, the Highland Park firefighters moved into a new fire station that was built from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, Highland Park Firefighter Scott Ziegler said. Although they had the building, they had little else—no bedding, no furniture, no kitchen supplies. A charitable foundation later donated a chair, Ziegler said, and an area business donated a television, and they have since added some necessities, such as blankets, the Daily reported.
“It’s mind-boggling to me” how little the Highland Park firefighters operate with, Brinker said. “It was heartbreaking. They are surrounded by the worst parts of Detroit. It was rough, really rough. It was like stepping into a different world.”
The department is no different than any other, Ziegler said—the firefighters are dedicated and committed to their community, and they work hard, responding to an overwhelming estimated 200 fires a year, the Daily reported.
Typically, fire departments such as those in Livingston County have dozens of firefighters who respond to a structure fire, but Highland Park, which went from about 80 firefighters to fewer than 30, has only half a dozen firefighters to respond to any given fire, the Daily reported.
Highland Park, which is landlocked by Detroit, has high poverty and unemployment rates, the Daily reported.
“I work in an area where people have nothing,” Ziegler said. “For us to ask for stuff doesn’t feel right.”
Oak Pointe Country Club staff have spent the last couple of weeks seeking donations to help the department, which holds an annual fundraiser selling T-shirts, the Daily reported.
“It’s really awesome what they’re doing,” Ziegler said. “It puts a smile on our face that they want to help us out, but it’s hard to ask. The only thing we care about is the city. We love doing our job, and the best way to provide for the city is doing our job.”
To help inspire donations, the staff has a pair of Highland Park firefighter boots near a Christmas tree in the clubhouse lobby. They hope club members and the public will help fill the area with presents or make a cash donation to help the department, the Daily reported.
On the wish list are 10 sets of twin-size bedding, white tees, white socks, sports drinks and snack bars. The department also could use exercise equipment, including weights or a treadmill, Gulick said, and long curtains to use between the rooms rather than the shower curtains it is using, the Daily reported.
Diapers are needed for two firemen who have babies, the Daily reported.
The goal is to raise $5,000 in cash as well to help purchase much needed items, including gloves, hoods, boots or power tools, which will help the firefighters do their jobs on a daily basis. The department also could use a new fire engine, the Daily reported.
“We want to take care of them and spoil them individually,” Brinker said.