AT&T makes pledge that will leave firefighters resting easy

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – AT&T is partnering with the City of Huntington to aid first-responders in some of their needs. Just weeks ago we told you about a grant from the company to demolish vacant, dilapidated structures, and Thursday afternoon they made another pledge.

Josh Blake has been with the Huntington Fire Department for 12 years and he said he’s looking forward to what AT&T is announcing.

“A lot of people say, ‘We support first-responders; we’re there for you,’ but when it’s time to show up they don’t,” Blake said.

But not this time. AT&T joined Mayor Steve Williams and Captain Jan Radar to keep its promise to “help the helpers.”

“You can write a check, but when you can actually come and do these things and see the results it really makes you feel good,” Andy Feeney, state president of AT&T, said.

Volunteers who were painting Centennial Station #1 Thursday say they also noticed something while working at one of the city’s other fire stations.

“We were painting at fire station 10 and moving some furniture around and we noticed that the mattresses weren’t in that great of condition,” Feeney said.

So AT&T decided to do something about it. They’re giving the city $2,000 to purchase new mattresses, something they’re encouraging other businesses to help with, as well.

“After a while, your first couple of years is obviously very rough,” Blake said. “But sleep is something you know you’re not going to get here, and that’s part of the job.”

Firefighters say it’s a rarity to sleep through the night so having a business invest in their quality of sleep can help make those sleepless nights safer.

“If you’re not getting the rest you need, you’re brains not thinking correctly, so you’re not doing what you need to be doing,” Blake said. “So, at 3-in-the-morning, when I get a call that tells me to turn left – if I’m not thinking properly, and I turn right – that could be the difference in life or death.”

Emergencies – just as unpredictable as the sleep firefighters get, and now, a solution they won’t lose any sleep over.

AT&T has a few other ways they’re helping first-responders. They are hosting family movie nights at their Huntington call center for first-responders and their families and they say they’ll also be delivering meals for the holidays.

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