SMART Alabama celebrates Crenshaw County first responders with dinner, donation

Published 8:50 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

As part of National First Responders month, SMART Alabama celebrated Crenshaw County volunteers with a $20,000 donation and dinner at the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department on Oct. 25.

Representatives from SMART cooked and served volunteers a steak dinner to show appreciation for their service to the community. SMART Vice President Hee Young Kim presented the Fire Department and the Luverne Rescue Squad with a $10,000 donation for each department.

Chief Bill McManigle, Luverne’s Volunteer Fire Chief, said first responders are grateful for SMART’s appreciation and the generous gift.

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“The services of the fire department and rescue squad are very good for our factory,” Kim told the first responders. “The fire station and rescue are all volunteers. That’s amazing! I am very thankful.

“You have our deepest gratitude. So many times over the years, you have come to our [facility] and helped us. Whether it was a false [alarm] or a real emergency, you always came to our aid.”

Kim told volunteers that SMART staff and managers were committed to being good corporate citizens, giving back to the county through donations, better paying jobs, and community events.

“The fire department and rescue squad are important to SMART and to Crenshaw County,” Kim exclaimed. “It is always good to know that you are close by and ready and willing to come to someone in need, during the day, in the middle of the night, or in the middle of the Alabama and Auburn game.”

Assistant Chief William Neal said SMART’s donation will enable the fire department to order equipment to outfit a new truck, which is already on order.

“It’s a blessing,” Neal said.

Appreciation events like these express the community’s gratitude to volunteers, but they also help local departments recruit volunteers, said Rescue Squad Captain Linda Turner.

“[These events] let people know that we’re here,” Turner said. “We can always use people to work if they have that desire to volunteer.”

According to SMART General Manager Gary Sport, the auto parts supplier already has plans to host more community events in the coming months.

“We want to become better corporate citizens,” Sport explained. We’re going to be doing a lot of things for different entities around Luverne over the months and years, setting up a lot of events. We’ve got to re-engage with the community and get more involved.

“The fire department and rescue come out every time we have an incident. A lot of times, it’s a false alarm because our systems go off, but they always show up. They never seem aggravated. They’ve been good to us, and we’re just trying to give something back.”