Firefighters don’t just put out fires.

thank_you_firefightersJust another December day at the office running a company and putting out my own kind of fires when my assistant chimes in with “firefighters on the phone for you.” And just to frame the tone a bit, when a company like ours who manage >1000 homes hears that sentence the default physical and emotional response is nerve wracking, especially considering a recent event we suffered as a company; the loss of Clara Bender.

But a couple seconds into that call and any worry was quickly supplanted with more than just a feeling of being at ease, but even better. My reaction turned into a…well a melancholic bliss (if that’s possible) induced by good news coupled with the painful thought of Clara Bender’s death.

Trevor from the Omaha Professional Firefighters called to let me know that their union chooses a family to help out during the Christmas season. And this year they had voted to take up a collection for the family of Clara (who passed away in an explosion this summer). They just wanted to know how to get the check to them. No strings, no hoopla, just how to get it to her family.

The kids of CPM at Christmas Party 2016

As it turned out I was able to present that generosity in the form of a check, by surprise, to Jake (husband) and Dominic (son) during our Christmas party not long after that call. The timing was perfect and it was another phenomenal example of how this community REALLY did step up to the plate and help the Bender-Rinehart and CPM families through that excruciating time in all of our lives.

The outpouring from friends, family, clients, home inspectors, property managers, vendors, strangers…untold thousands was so overwhelming during that time that even now it evokes emotion as I type this. Not sure I ever got the chance to thank you all for everything, but I’ll take advantage of this writing to make it clear:

We understand we will never come close to repaying you for your thoughts, prayers, financial support, kind words, or beautiful deeds that helped us all get through that time in our lives. And to wish you all a happy holiday season feels almost trite. But we know you didn’t want anything in return other than to do good…and extend a helping hand to people who needed it. Well…I can say you most definitely did help a lot of people. That for us was the best gift we could have received and we hope upon hope you and yours this season think back on what you did and accept the joy it should inspire to make your season just a little bit better…that’s all we can do I suppose.

Thanks again to the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters for your generous donation to the family and giving me this opportunity to finally, and wholeheartedly thank everyone.

Wistar Group – Omaha

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