By Brandi Addison
Chris Chapman of Safe Building Materials Association of Texas and members of the Texas Tech Student Government Association present Station 12 with a banner on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2107. Chapman and SGA visited all 19 Lubbock Fire Department Stations on Saturday to show their gratitude for the work of LFD. Justin Rex
Texas Tech’s Student Government Association showed its appreciation to the Lubbock Fire Department at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Fire Station 12, located at 5202 79th St.
Some of the students involved in SGA delivered muffins to each of the fire stations in Lubbock. Each of those students congregated to Fire Station 12 to deliver a thank-you banner to the Lieutenant Curtis Swinford, chairman of the Lubbock Professional Firefighters Association.
David Isaiah Rivero, a junior marketing and management major from Lovington, New Mexico, said at the very minimum he felt the students should say thank you.
“We started early this morning,” Rivero said. “We had a group meeting, and we went to Market Street, where they donated a good portion of the pastries that we delivered to each of the fire departments.”
Lieutenant Curtis Swinford holds hand written letters from Texas Tech students to Lubbock Firefighters. Student Government Association presented Swinford with the Letters to be dispersed through the department.
Each student was tasked to visit a few of the stations, he said, and they were able to introduce themselves, give their thanks and spend time with the firefighters.
“It’s very easy to take people for granted,” Rivero said, “and you don’t realize that these people are here until you need them or when they’re not here. Just to reiterate, saying thank you is the very least we can do.”
Sean Lewis, SGA chief of staff and a junior economics major from Virginia Beach, Virginia, said people who can give back should give back.
“It’s important to give back to those who do so much for you,” Lewis said.
Coming from across the country — and even across the world —for a lot of people, West Texas is a new place, he said. In his case, he had never been to Lubbock before his freshman year of college.
“We’re here for the majority of the year,” Lewis said. “We go back home for a small portion of the year, but these folks here in this community are those who have our back and take care of us: our fire department, our EMS, emergency services, doctors. We want to make sure we show them our gratitude and show them our appreciation for risking their lives and sacrificing so much for us here in Lubbock.”
Chris Chapman of Safe Building Materials Association of Texas and Sean Lewis of the Texas Tech Student Government Association present Station 12 with a banner on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2107. Chapman and SGA visited all 19 Lubbock Fire Department Stations on Saturday to show their gratitude for the work of LFD. Justin RexLewis said he hopes fellow students and people within the community are encouraged to do the same because even small ways of showing thanks can make an impact on those individuals.“I want them to be encouraged and inspired to look around them and look at all the people who operate and help us out in this city,” Lewis said. “From waste management, trash collecting, our fire department, our EMS, just say thank you, even if it’s you walking into a Walmart or walking into a Target and you see a person in uniform and they’re getting lunch, say, ‘Thank you for what you do.’ It’s small little things that go a long way.”Chris Chapman, who represents the Safe Building Materials Association of Texas, said he and the students were just there to show gratitude.“When we thought of the idea, the theme of the day doesn’t have to do with anything other than one word,” Chapman said. “And the theme of the day is gratitude. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in college. You think about the people who are closest to you: your parents, your siblings, your friends. Sometimes the people that are closest to you are the very ones you take for granted.”
Firefighters from Lubbock Fire Department's Station 12 leave for a call on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Justin Rex
“This country had a rough week,” Chapman said. “It didn’t have anything to do with just Las Vegas. It didn’t have anything to do with just Nevada. This country had a rough week. This is national fire safety prevention month. That and what happened in Las Vegas are two completely independent things, but what a perfect opportunity to be able to demonstrate gratitude to the people we take for granted.”
In addition to delivering muffins and the banner to the fire department, the students also wrote letters for the fire fighters in Lubbock, he said.
On the banner, each of the students wrote personal notes, such as “thank you for saving my life.”
“I called Sean (Lewis) and asked, ‘Is there a way we can win together?’” Chapman said. “He said yes, and we figured it out. These kids gave up their Saturday to do something out of their own self-interest, and I think that’s a reflection on this community, and it certainly is for Texas Tech.”
Chapman also gifted a check to SGA for their work.
Swinford said Lubbock has done a good job at making the department feel appreciated as first responders.
“I’ve been on for 28 years,” Swinford said. “Whenever I first started for the fire department, you always knew you were welcomed and appreciated, but it was never really shown that much. After September 11th, it was like somebody flipped a switch.”
Often times, the firefighters are in public, and individuals come up to them, introduce themselves, shake their hands and thank them, he said.
As a firefighter, Swinford said he wants people to know they can always come to them, no matter the circumstance.
“We’ve always been here,” Swinford said. “We’re always going to strive to be here. We appreciate it, but that’s what we want to do. We like serving the public, and we want to be there to protect people and help people. We’re there on our best and worst days. That’s what we’re about.”