by: Regina Mobley Posted: Mar 12, 2021 / 02:18 PM EST / Updated: Mar 12, 2021 / 02:23 PM EST
by: Regina Mobley
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From fires to floods, after the gunfire, and before it’s too late for COVID-19 patients, firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics responded to emergencies one after the other during the year of the pandemic. On the one-year anniversary of the public health crisis, a Suffolk business is saying thank you, by donating and delivering a clever — and useful — piece of equipment to fire stations across the region.
“These guys and ladies have been through a really rough time and they are extra busy, they are short-staffed and working a lot of overtime,” said Templeton.
Templeton and his partners initially donated a smoker grill to Station 10, a new fire station in Chesapeake where a relative is employed. The firefighters loved it. The Pit Boss is pricey; it even has bluetooth technology that allows first responders to control the device via cell phones while they are on the road.
The Allfirst team didn’t stop there; their gifting spree took off like wildfire. Over three weeks they purchased and donated a total of 69 smoker grills for fire stations in Suffolk, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Smithfield, Carrsville, and Carrolton.
10 On Your Side was on hand when one of the last deliveries was made to Virginia Beach Fire Station 11 near the Oceanfront.
First responders were there ready to accept the delivery and to receive instructions on how to use the Pit Boss smoker grill.
“This is an awesome gesture. We’re always out on calls and we are super busy, so to have what we can control when we are out on calls and have our food ready when we come home, because we never know how much time we are going to have to have our dinner,” said firefighter Carlye Bartolomeo.
First responders are close to the hearts of the team from Allfirst.
“I went through the fire academy 20 years ago, so I’ve been on the FEMA tech team for 21 years. These are my family too,” said Templeton.
Firefighters in Virginia Beach wasted no time firing up the new smoker grill. At one station, pork and bacon cheeseburgers were onboard for the culinary maiden voyage.
“Cooking is what brings the fire department together so we wanted to do something they could enjoy that’s from the community, said Templeton.
The Allfirst team spent thousands on the donations and they encourage other business owners to join them in showing appreciation to the region’s first responders.