Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The Summerville Fire Department can now add another tool – actually 25 tools – to its arsenal of firefighting equipment, thanks to a surprise gift from the 9/11 Heroes Run of Charleston and Streamlight, a commercial flashlight manufacturer.
The department received 25 brand-new Streamlight “Knucklehead” flashlights made specifically for first responders, a completely unexpected but absolutely welcome surprise, noted SFD Chief Richard Waring and SFD Capt. Tripp Mobley.
“They are very nice flashlights,” Mobley said. “Well built and versatile — and they’re something fire departments would always like to have, but too often just don’t have the money for in the budget.”
What happened is something of a lesson in serendipity. Theresa Faircloth became involved with the national 9/11 Heroes 5K Run, organizing a race for the Charleston area in 2012. The 9/11 Heroes Run is a national event, with 52 races being held Saturday, Sept. 6, across the country. Locally, the race will be held on Daniel Island.
The purpose of the race is to promote remembrance of those first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy as well as raise funds for first responders across the country. In any race, half the proceeds go to the Travis Manion Foundation, the 501c(3) group that organizes the race nationally; the other half stays local.
Faircloth said she got involved in part because her husband, Jesse, is a first responder — he’s a firefighter with the Charleston Fire Department assigned to Station 15 – and she felt a need to help first responders and remember the fallen.
“I felt like I needed to do something,” Faircloth said. “I’m married to a first responder, I know the sacrifices they make. I can’t do much but if I can do this I can help bring the community together and show support and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11.”
“I can’t help it – I know there are events like this one every weekend around here, but I can’t help believing that this one is a little different from the others,” she added.
The first 9/11 race in Charleston, held in 2012 in Mt. Pleasant, raised some $12,000; local proceeds went to the Charleston Fire Department. The next year’s race raised more than $15,000; local proceeds went to Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team.
Recently, she said she received word that one of the sponsors, Streamlight, a Pennsylvania based company that manufactures flashlights for industry and first responders, had chosen the Charleston race as one of four of the 52 races across the country to donate a number of flashlights to a local first responder.
“They told us we had been chosen and asked us to donate to a local fire department,” Theresa Faircloth said. “We have donated to Charleston Fire Department and to Lowcountry Fire Fighters in Distress. Since we live in Summerville, we thought we should donate to the guys who are protecting our home and our family.”
The flashlights are the new Streamlight “Knucklehead” pivoting spotlight, built especially for first responders such as firefighters, noted Streamlight’s Eastern Region Sales Manager Mitchell Poe.
The lights are rechargeable, so they can be kept on individual fire trucks at all times. They are small enough to easily attach to turnout gear, making them hands free as well; the light itself can pivot 360 degrees in all directions and contains a very powerful spotlight for a flashlight its size.
“They won’t replace the big Survivor spotlights, but they are very useful and very versatile,” Poe said. “We’ve had a lot of positive response from fire departments with them.”
SFD Chief Richard Waring thanked Faircloth and Poe, noting that the department will undoubtedly put them to good use.
“We really appreciate you thinking of us — I know they will be very valuable assets to the department and the community,” Waring said.
Faircloth did say the race still has slots available for both participants and volunteers.
Anyone interested in helping out with the race should contact Faircloth at Charleston@911heroesrun.org.