First Federal Bank employees donated $1,180 to Bonifay Fire-Rescue recently and helped the volunteer fire department procure a new automated external defibrillator (AED). [CONTRIBUTED]
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First Federal Bank donation helps Bonifay Fire-Rescue purchase life-saving AED

First Federal Bank is giving back to the community in a way that could save lives.

Bonifay Fire-Rescue is a volunteer fire department already operating on a shoestring budget. When employees of the hometown bank pool their own hard earned money together from the employee contribution program to make sure the fire department has much-needed life-saving equipment, that makes the effort even more special.

“They have always given back to the community, and they still are,” said Bonifay Mayor Travis Cook. 

The donation is extra sentimental to Cook as he returned to the bank that gave him his first real job fresh out of high school back when it was still the Bank of Bonifay. Cook was a bank teller during the day while he attended EMS training at night. 

“To be able to come back to them 20 years later as mayor to team up with them to present a check for lifesaving equipment is awesome,” Cook said. 

The premise behind where the money comes from to help support the fire department is what is so special to Cook as a fourth generation volunteer firefighter for the department alongside his father, Chief Larry Cook. 

First Federal Way is the bank’s employee contribution program in which employees may opt in to donating as little as $1 per pay period. The bank then matches the employee contributions dollar for dollar at the end of the year to go to various non-profits in the region. Bonifay Fire-Rescue is their local organization of choice.

This donation helped the fire department procure a second automated external defibrillator, or AED, a portable medical device that helps re-establish a heart rhythm in those experiencing cardiac arrest. The AED purchase would have set the fire department back $2,400 without the bank’s assistance.

“Our call volume supports having two AEDs,” Cook said.

The department will now have an AED on two rescue vehicles that respond to local emergencies.

“Whether it’s a medical call, fire or wreck, there will be an AED on the call,” Cook said.

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