When Brownwood Kiwanis Club immediate past president Carl Boivin saw the poor condition of the five large brown recliners in the Central Fire Station living area late last year, he knew action was needed.
The recliners, which sat in a row facing a large screen television, were badly worn and barely usable.
Thanks to a fundraising effort Boivin began, seven new leather recliners were delivered this past week after being purchased from Gallery Warehouse Furniture and put in place of the old ones, which were hauled away.
Brownwood Fire Chief Eric Hicks said via email that donations totaling $4,480 went toward recliner’s total cost of $6,265. Hicks said it’s his understanding that the balance was paid from funds remaining in a fire department donation account. The fire department is looking into purchasing new furniture for Station 2.
Boivin explained how the the fundraising effort began.
“We had the pancake supper for Kiwanis, and I came down here to deliver first responders’ tickets to the fire department,” said Boivin, who also serves as lieutenant governor of Kiwanis Division 12, Region 6 . “I got here and they happened to take me back through there and I saw those chairs.
“They took a picture of us getting the tickets and I asked them about the chairs on the way back through. I was appalled. I said I’m going to see if I can’t raise some money to get some new chairs.”
Bart Johnson of Painter and Johnson Associates also saw the chairs and was appalled, Boivin said.
“So he and I got together, and he donated the first $1,000 if I would do all the legwork to collect the rest, and here we are,” Boivin said. “I went to various places to collect money.”
After firefighters helped two Gallery Warehouse Furniture employees bring the new recliners into the fire station, firefighters, Boivin and fire administrator Gwen Stone posed for photos around and in the chairs.
Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said the old recliners had been brought over from the old fire station in 2015.
“We put in the budget to buy new furniture and it kept getting cut out,” Preston said. “We had numerous tours of people coming through, and every time any body came through, they always talked about our chairs and how bad they looked.
“Carl came through one day and he saw them, and he said ‘I think I can do something about it.’ Carl kind of steamrolled with it and took off with it. He contacted some other business owners and people around, Bart Johnson and some others, and they raised enough money to buy the new chairs.”