DANBURY, Conn. (Nov. 16-20, 2010) – In the U.S. more than 70 percent of all firefighters are volunteers, often maintaining full-time jobs while simultaneously protecting their community regardless of the conditions. With another harsh winter around the corner, Prestone, a leading producer of antifreeze/coolant, this week launched “Own it for Good” — a nationwide initiative that will spotlight and help vehicle owners who use their cars “for good” — with a car winterizing effort supporting volunteer firefighters serving communities across the United States.
Through a partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and volunteer fire departments in the Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas, Prestone’s team of certified technicians — along with former NFL tight end-turned firefighter Erron Kinney — will lead the way to winterize as many volunteer firefighter’s vehicles as possible in one week’s time, from Nov. 16-20. The first 50 people to RSVP to the event in each market will also receive an autographed photo of Erron Kinney.
“There are very few organizations in this country that rely on their personal vehicles more than volunteer firefighters,” says Kelley O’Donnell, director of marketing global coolants for Prestone. “Our goal is to provide an important service to these men and women while also informing the public that proper vehicle maintenance is vital in these tough winter months.”
Erron Kinney knows this firsthand. At just 33 years old, the former Tennessee Titan is already a seasoned veteran with more than 10 years of volunteer firefighting experience that spans back to his days at the University of Florida. The standout tight end was notorious for sleeping next to scanners and made a point to visit at least one fire station on every road trip with the Titans. With plenty of experience balancing his volunteer firefighting duties with a full-time job in professional sports, Kinney’s passion has made him a catalyst within the world of firefighting.
“Ever since I was young, I can remember being drawn to anything that has to do with burning buildings and fire trucks,” says Kinney. “As I’m sure many volunteer firefighters can attest to, it takes an extreme level of passion and dedication to be constantly ‘on guard’ and prepared to drop everything to help your community. Whether you’re in a fire truck or your own personal car, having a well-maintained vehicle can mean the difference between saving … or not saving lives.”
Having supported a number of efforts put on by the NVFC, Kinney and Prestone will embark on the three-city tour beginning on Nov. 16 in the New York City area, before traveling to the metropolitan areas of Chicago (Nov. 18) and Washington D.C. (Nov. 20). In each city the Prestone team will set-up at a local fire station, where volunteer firefighters from across the region will bring their personal vehicles to be winterized by a team of certified technicians. Additionally, Prestone will make a $15,000 donation to the NVFC in addition to a $5,000 donation to each individual event-site fire station.
“In most instances, volunteer firefighters are the first people in the community to respond to fires or other types of disasters that occur in their area,” says Heather Schafer, executive director of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “These first responders often come straight from their homes, relying on their personal vehicles to get them there safely. By partnering with Prestone and Mr. Kinney, we’re hoping to do a great thing for some very deserving volunteer firefighters.”