Special donation might make Georgetown firefighters the cleanest in Kentucky

gkocher1@herald-leader.comMarch 20, 2014 

GEORGETOWN — City firefighters here can wipe one item off their list of supplies.

On Wednesday, a UPS man dropped off 960 rolls of Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper — a full year's worth for the 20 firefighters at Georgetown's three stations.

"It's definitely something that will be used," Assistant Chief John Ward said.

So what did Georgetown do to hit the jackpot?

Ward has his wife, Melanie, and firefighter Scott Markey to thank.

Charmin recently asked consumers to share stories via Facebook and Twitter about firehouses in their communities that needed help. Charmin, one of the brands of Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble, then picked a firehouse in each state that could use the extra support.

"We want to help the brave men and women who put their behinds on the line day in and day out for others — America's firefighters," said Scott Mautz, regional brand director, in a release.

So Ward's wife, Melanie, submitted a message nominating the Georgetown Fire Department,

"There are some stinky fireman butts there that need some Charmin love!!!" Melanie Ward wrote, according to information released by Proctor & Gamble.

John Ward said his wife "mentioned it briefly to me in passing. I never thought any more about it."

The next thing he knew, Fire Chief Robert Bruin called him into his office and let him know that Charmin would soon be dumping a large load of TP on them.

The retail value of that donation would be $518.80 if the department purchased the same amount and the same two-ply grade at Wal-Mart. But the department typically buys toilet tissue and other cleaning supplies from a local vendor, Global Supply, said firefighter Kevin Darnell.

John Ward, who applies for various grants for equipment, said the toilet tissue will help the department, which has a $4.5 million annual budget. Grants and donations, he said, "help us offset our budget. When we can get a grant to get equipment that's really needed, it helps us and it helps the city and it helps the taxpayers."

For example, the department recently received a $19,500 grant to put access controls on Stations 2 and 3.

"When we get calls, we need to go right then and there, and the guys don't have time to start locking doors," Ward said. "So with this access control you go in and out of doors with a key fob."

As of Thursday morning, the Georgetown Fire Department had not received any ribbing from firefighter brethren or other city departments about the large donation of bathroom tissue.

But it's probably going to hit the fan right about now.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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