First responders to converge on Lowe’s

By Chris Berendt -

Some local Emergency Services departments — and others flying in for the occasion — will be on display this Saturday in the Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot, offering the public an opportunity to interact with some of the people who protect them each day and see demonstrations of them at work.

The event, deemed Emergency Services Day, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 24.

Lowe’s Home Improvement is hosting the event in its expansive parking lot off Sunset Avenue. Lowe’s manager Russell Clark approached Clinton Fire Department Chief Scott Phillips weeks ago about having such an event, and Phillips spearheaded coordinating a number of local agencies and another that is bringing some heavy machinery.

Among those agencies expected to have representatives on hand are the Clinton Fire Department, Clinton Police Department, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol, N.C. Forestry Service, Sampson County Emergency Medical Services, Critical Care Teams,

“Just about everybody who has a hand in emergency services in Sampson County will be there,” said Phillips, who noted volunteer fire departments are not part of the event, but are nonetheless vital. “Lowe’s approached us about having this event and asked me if I could make a few calls.”

Phillips obliged, and was happy others were eager to jump on board.

“I reached out to all the agencies and they all agreed to try to get someone out there, pending any type of emergency event,” the fire chief noted. “It just gives us an opportunity to show folks what we do, and to ask questions, interact and allow for recruiting if there is anyone who wishes to go into the emergency services field.”

In addition to the local agencies, Duke Life Flight will also land at Lowe’s, with a helicopter scheduled to touch down at around 11 a.m. Phillips knows there is nothing quite like a helicopter to grab people’s attention, and hopes it will attract even more people, young and old, to the event.

“I used to work for Duke so I knew who to call,” said Phillips, whose 15-year emergency services career has included positions as a paramedic and firefighter. “

There will also be an extrication demonstration, for which Thornton’s Body Shop donated a car. Phillips said the event is a community partnership and hopes it might provide a fruitful opportunity to network with the public.

“It not only gives the public a chance to see what we do, but it also gives folks a chance to interact, ask questions and allows an opportunity for recruitment,” Phillips remarked. “Sometimes, you might not see firefighters and forestry service until they are fighting fires. This gives everyone a forum and an opportunity to interact with people in their area who respond to various emergency situations.”

The event is just the most recent outreach in the community made by Lowe’s, which last month planted trees, flowers and shrubs in downtown Garland as part of Lowe’s Heroes program, which began more than 10 years ago. Its purpose is to encourage employees to work together and adopt a volunteer project with a nonprofit organization or public school.

Clark said then that it was inspirational to see everyone go the extra mile to beautify the community.

“It makes me feel very really proud of our company,” he said, “that allows us to come out and do things like this.”

Phillips said Saturday’s event would serve as a similar outreach in the community, with Lowe’s this time serving as host.

“We hope that people can get out there and see what is going on,” Phillips said, “and learn how they can join or help in their community.”

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

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