| The News Herald
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Lowe’s Home Improvement recently doled out a handful of meat smokers to two fire departments.
Steve Madrid, assistant manager of the Lowe’s store on Panama City Beach Parkway, said it feels great to give back to the men and women who serve the community.
Madrid said his store donated three smokers to Panama City Beach Fire Rescue last week and another to the Bay County Fire Department on Thomas Drive the week before. Each cost about $350.
“We love being sponsors of first responders and essential workers,” he said.
Madrid also said that when the COVID-19 pandemic first made headlines earlier this year and left many businesses closed and hung out to dry, Lowe’s was dubbed an essential workplace and allowed to stay open.
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“We wanted to just give back to (members of) the local community who do more essential work than we do,” he said. “They are great partners in the community for us.”
Madrid said he hoped the smokers not only would give firefighters on shift another way to make food, but possibly be used during fundraisers and safety classes.
In a time when first responders are advised to limit their public interactions as much as possible because of COVID-19, Bay County Fire Capt. Gabe Moschella said the gift is something that likely will be used every shift.
He and Chief Ray Morgan of Panama City Beach Fire Rescue added that it’s humbling to know a business supports the first responders of its community.
“It was extremely touching that Lowe’s was so thoughtful,” Moschella wrote in an email. “Especially during times of COVID, we are preparing more meals at the station, and this donation is extremely helpful.”
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“We always strive to put others before ourselves, so when someone gives back to the men and women that give so much to this community, it makes us all very thankful,” Morgan added.
After hearing local fire officials plan to put the smokers to good use, Madrid said he was very proud that his business could make the contributions.
“Lowe’s is considered to be a proud partner of the Bay County area … and we want to do everything we can to support the local community,” he said. “(At) the Lowe’s store on the Beach here, we consider ourselves to be the best Lowe’s in the company, and we’re 850 Strong.”