Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) recently joined a community effort to help purchase a fire department rescue truck in Johnson, Vermont.
Recent flooding from an ice jam along the banks of the Lamoille River in Johnson caused extensive disruption to the post office and Sterling Market, a local grocery store in Johnson.
While fourteen inches of water wreaked havoc on the building, it could have been worse if not for the efforts of the Johnson Fire Department.
“Quick to arrive with the manpower, pumps and diversion of water, the local fire department did an outstanding job of containing the damage, so we were only closed for one week,” said Mike Comeau, owner of Sterling Market.
Ernie Pomerleau of Pomerleau Real Estate, which owns the building, said that “The fire department in Johnson did an outstanding job. We felt moved to thank them.”
When Pomerleau reached out to Fire Chief Arjay West to discuss a possible dinner celebration as a thank you, he learned of the more pressing need for a new rescue truck, which West had already begun to pursue.
Chief West shared that “a committee was working on the replacement of the rescue truck,” but “costs exceeded the available funds in the capital replacement plan.”
In just a few days, the business partners found a way to meet the more pressing need in the community.
With $4,000 donations from the Pomerleau family, AGNE and Sterling Market of Johnson, along with $8,000 via the AGNE Neighbor-2-Neighbor charitable matching fund program, the group was able to present the Johnson Fire Department with a check for $20,000 toward the purchase of a the much-needed truck.
A core principle of AGNE is a “Concern for the Communities We Serve.” The Neighbor-2-Neighbor program allows local, independent retailers the chance to double their donations to worthwhile local causes.
“Because of the tremendous efforts of many people, including the team of associates at store level and the dedicated men and women of the Johnson Fire Department, the store was able to reopen last Saturday, just one week after the flooding. I’m a very optimistic person, but even I would not have predicted this would happen within one week,” said AGNE President and CEO Mike Violette. “It just proves that a dedicated and determined group of people with a common goal can achieve great things. AGNE is thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful community, and we are proud to support the dedicated team of professional firefighters in Johnson, Vermont.”