B1 Intermediate 23 Folder Collection
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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]
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Fire Dept. Coffee: Serving our heroes

23 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 28, 2020
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