Seventeen area fire departments, located in Minnesota and Iowa, recently received $600 donations from AcenTek. Appropriately timed, the donations were sent to the departments around Thanksgiving, along with a letter expressing the company’s gratitude for all the volunteer fire departments due for their community. 

Just a few months back, these donations did not seem possible. The money, normally collected by staff wishing to dress casually at work, was not collected due to most office staff working remotely since March. The money collected by staff, known as the Casual Day Fund, typically is matched by the company and then donated to area volunteer-based organizations each year. Fire departments were next on the list for this year. Without collecting money from staff, donations to area fire departments seemed unlikely. Sympathizing with area fire departments, who have had fundraisers cancelled or modified due to the virus, the staff was unable to completely abandon the idea of giving. They reached out to the Board of Directors to explain the dilemma. Due to the generosity of the board, the AcenTek Casual Day committee was given the funds required to make donations to 17 area fire departments.

Minnesota fire departments awarded donations include Caledonia, Eitzen, Canton, Hokah, Houston, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Dakota, Nodine, and Ridgeway. In Iowa, the fire departments awarded donations were Clermont, Ossian, Fort Atkinson, Harpers Ferry, Waterville and New Albin.

When contacted regarding the donations, each fire department shared specific plans for the dollars given. Mentioned repeatedly was a special machine to wash the clothes. Due to the size of the gear and the amount of contamination often covering it, special machines are needed to properly clean what the firemen wear. Other items suggested as possible purchases with the donated funds include personal protective equipment, air packs, hoses, updated gear, more/better equipment to address land fires and even a new truck.

“We are so fortunate to work for a company that feels strongly about giving back to our community. The board’s willingness to provide the funds needed is really the only way we would be able to do this,” says Sharlene Schobert, Casual Day committee member. “One of the best parts of my job is getting to talk to area volunteers, and personally thank them for what they do. They support our community. This donation is one way we can support them.”

Locally owned and fully committed to customer care, AcenTek has proudly served southeast Minnesota and northeast Iowa and for over 70 years, providing Internet, Voice, and Video services.