Members of the Merrill Fire Department recently received an expensive and unexpected gift from administrators of Weinbrenner Shoe Company.
“I received a call from Weinbrenner last week asking if they could stop by,” explains fire chief Dave Savone.
“When they arrived, they had two full ‘turnout’ gear suits and asked if we would accept them. They were not only brand new, but also meet NFPA standards. Of course I said yes!” he adds with a chuckle.
“It was really a surprise. We had no idea they had this in mind but we are very appreciative.”
Savone, joined by several members of the department, officially received the two suits on Tuesday morning from company president Pat Miner and Jeff Burns, Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.
“Weinbrenner was exploring the idea of producing turn out gear to add to their already existing line of public safety footwear,” Savone further explained.
“In doing so, they were given a pair of brand new suits to look over. They eventually decided against the idea and chose to give them to us rather than return or discard them.”
‘Turn out gear’ as Savone defined, is the term used to describe the boots, trousers and jackets which protect department staff when carrying out their duties.
Although the gear may appear rather simple and drab to the naked eye, the gear are actually complex individual systems designed to protect the firefighter in a variety of ways.
“The gear protects the firefighter with a three-layer system or shell,” Savone explains.
“Those layers consist of the ‘rough and tumble’ exterior, the thermal layer which keeps heat saturation away from the firefighter, and the third and most inner layer in the system is the moisture layer; which wicks moisture away from the firefighter so that he does not get ‘steamed’
According to Miner, the gesture is the company’s way of expressing appreciation and gratitude for the service MFD provides to Merrill and the surrounding areas.
“Weinbrenner has been a part of this community since 1936,” Miner stated.
“We value and appreciate the service our local public safety agencies provide to our community and are well aware of how tight local budgets are these days. If we can assist public safety in obtaining the gear they need, while remaining within those budgets, we are more than happy to do our part.”
According to Savone, the gear was taken ‘home’ following the presentation and will be assigned to department staff next week.
Each suit has an approximate 10-year life span and has an estimated value of $2,500.