When they aren’t entering blazing buildings or saving lives, firefighters look for other ways to serve the community, and the proud men and women of the Chicago Fire Department are no different.
BNSF employees share that strong focus on community and partnered with the Chicago Fire Department on a project to benefit hundreds of children in need.
One of the signature community events for the Chicago Firefighter’s Union, Local 2 is the annual holiday “Big Toy Parade.” The event provides holiday toys at no cost to low-income children and the children of deployed military personnel. The toys are delivered through partnerships with Catholic Charities, the Humboldt Park Armory and others.
Several years ago, the firefighters found a generous partner in Huffy, located in California, to provide bikes for the holiday toy program. But, moving hundreds of bikes from Los Angeles to Chicago is no easy task — that is, unless you’re BNSF.
When the firefighters reached out to BNSF, the company was happy to help. BNSF partnered with JB Hunt, which provided an empty container to transport the bikes across the Southern Transcon. BNSF employees helped secure local transportation for the freight container in both Los Angeles and Chicago.
“It means the world to us that BNSF cares enough to step in and help us,” said Tim O'Brien, director of public relations, Chicago Firefighters Union, Local 2. “If BNSF wasn’t involved, it would mean a lot less children would get bikes. Everybody’s doing their little bit, and together we get this done each year for the kids and these families.”
The Chicago firefighters received the shipment of 500 bikes on Nov. 30. The firefighters spent a week assembling the bikes and delivered them to families on Dec. 5.