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  • [alarm blaring]

  • [indistinct radio chatter]

  • [siren blaring]

  • Luke: I do remember when 9/11 happened.

  • I was in high school at the time,

  • and seeing first responders searching for people

  • and how it impacted firefighters

  • but also how they came together through it all...

  • that really struck me as, "Wow, this is a community

  • and a family that I would love to be a part of."

  • I'm Luke.

  • I'm a firefighter for the city of Rockford.

  • [soft music]

  • I moved to Rockford when I got hired

  • on the fire department almost ten years ago.

  • We work long hours and long shifts with sometimes no sleep,

  • so coffee is an essential at the fire station.

  • I met my wife, Kate, while she was working at a coffee shop.

  • Kate: He was one of the types of people

  • that just wanted coffee to taste like coffee.

  • Luke: She would point out different flavor profiles

  • and really opened my eyes to high-quality coffee.

  • Kate: I don't want to take the credit. [laughs]

  • Both of us decided that we wanted to be a part of the process of coffee.

  • Luke: We bought a coffee roaster and jumped right in.

  • Kate: It was a lot of trial and error.

  • Luke: We had to pay for our education through a lot of wasted batches.

  • Kate and I roasted coffee for a year before we were...

  • Kate: Willing to give it to anyone. Luke: Yeah.

  • [both laugh]

  • Since I'm a firefighter,

  • we wanted to do something that tied in with the fire service,

  • so we did a fire department blend,

  • and we donated a portion of the proceeds to a burn camp in Illinois.

  • That fire department blend sold out.

  • [upbeat piano music]

  • We wanted to build on that,

  • so we started Fire Department Coffee to support my brothers and sisters.

  • At first, we didn't have a business plan,

  • and we didn't know how we were gonna grow our company.

  • Kate: We decided we would build a website

  • so that we could reach more people.

  • Luke: We learned to make the site our storefront.

  • That's when things really started taking off.

  • When people are searching for coffee,

  • there are so many websites to choose from,

  • so those positive online reviews help people find us.

  • 99% of our sales come through online,

  • and about a third of those come through Google.

  • In the last year, we've doubled our production,

  • and we employ seven people from our community,

  • half of which are firefighters or veterans.

  • Dave's our coffee roaster, and he's a retired captain.

  • Dave: I drank coffee my whole firefighting career,

  • maybe 20 cups a day.

  • Is that too many? [laughs]

  • Fire departments are buying the coffee, so I like to put little notes on there,

  • sign 'em, and let 'em know that, you know,

  • it's a firefighter out there making your coffee.

  • Luke: We launched Fire Department Coffee two years ago,

  • and we've donated over $50,000 to different charities.

  • man: Thanks for everything you do.

  • Luke: And now we're starting our own charitable foundation

  • to help injured firefighters and first responders.

  • [stirring music]

  • Damien Pereira is a firefighter who was injured in the line of duty.

  • He had a tree fall on him,

  • and the doctors told him that he would likely never walk again.

  • There's very little out there

  • to help injured firefighters and first responders.

  • Damien's role in our charitable foundation

  • is to make sure that our resources are being spent

  • where they will have the greatest impact.

  • Damien: PTSD, counseling, medical supplies.

  • Luke: Firefighters serve their communities.

  • People that are having the worst day of their life are calling us,

  • so it wouldn't make sense being Fire Department Coffee

  • and not doing something bigger or greater with it

  • and give back.

  • [light piano music]

[alarm blaring]

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Fire Dept. Coffee: Serving our heroes

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/27
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