SARATOGA SPRINGS — A local firefighter has started a clothing company in hopes of helping families of fallen or injured emergency responders through a financially and emotionally pressing time.
Jerry Lund, 44, created his apparell company, Fire and Fuel, as a way to reach out to his firefighting family in times of need. The captain of a combination fire department in Saratoga Springs, Lund’s experiences with a workplace injury and friends being injured or killed in the line of duty led him to found the company.
“I know and understand what’s going on in their lives probably more than other people. I've been through personal experiences of losing people through line of duty accidents,” Lund said. “I’ve seen all these other accidents that have happened and people passing. I know how hard it is to make it through those times financially and emotionally.”
Lund has been in the fire service for 23 years. He began his service as a volunteer firefighter, moved to part time and later became captain. Many firefighters throughout Utah have followed a similar path, working at multiple fire agencies in the state.
“There’s usually two or three other people from different departments (at our department),” Lund said. “Everybody seems to know about everybody else and what’s going on. It’s easy to find people in need.”
Because of that closeness, Lund said fellow firefighters have offered their assistance selling the clothing Lund designed, raising funds and finding donation recipients. Most recently, Lund said, they helped fundraise for the families of the 19 firefighters from Prescott, Ariz., killed in a wildfire.
“It’s just hard; it’s just devastating. I can’t imagine you lose somebody in your life and then you have to try to still pick up and go financially,” Lund said. “To receive benefits takes forever. In the meantime, those families are just struggling. That’s where I want to fill in those gaps. I want to be able to keep generating money and fill in those gaps so when there is a loss like that, they're not struggling for money. They can deal with the emotional part and not have to worry so much about the finances."
Lund feels it is important for firefighters to be able to give back to their brothers.
“This is one (way) we can actually do and give back to their brothers. A lot of the other fundraisers firefighters are involved in are for other fire departments and other charities,” Lund said.
Lund will be participating in a charity fundraiser in conjunction with the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Firemen and Friends of Kids. Proceeds from the event will also benefit victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippeans. The fundraiser will be held at the DoubleTree in Salt Lake City on Dec. 19.