Firefighters who took to the floodwaters get a sweet thanks from Clover Sonoma

Photo Credit: Bill Bullard
Article By: Chris Smith
Source: The Press Democrat 

“We appreciate them and we want them to feel that appreciation,” Corson said.

Ice cream is a hot commodity in firehouses.

Extensive research revealed to me that in some fire departments a firefighter is expected to buy ice cream for the station if he or she messes up a bit or, contrarily, does something exceptionally wonderful, like deliver a baby.

It’s widespread tradition also that ice cream for the station crew is due from any firefighter whose efforts appear on TV or in the newspaper or in a radio interview.

“We’re pretty serious about ice cream,” affirmed Bill Bullard, chief of the Graton Fire Protection District.

To provide a firehouse shift’s favorite dessert costs a news-featured firefighter a few bucks but also allows his or her buddies to ladle on the razzing and/or attaboys. The ritual might be silly where you or I work, but in a fire station there can’t be too many opportunities for colleagues who respond regularly to calamity and horror and suffering to kick back, bond, process and have a little fun and mint chocolate chip.

So … during the flooding along the Russian River, news crews chronicled the work of many local firefighters engaged in swift water rescue. You surely saw images of firefighters plucking people from deep water, deep trouble.

It occurred to Graton’s Bullard to tell Clover Sonoma that firefighters from all across the county would be on the hook for ice cream because their work had made the news.

The chief asked, might Clover care to provide some of the ice cream?

The dairy producer’s Danielle Cantrell and Jenny Briggs loved the idea of pitching in. Bullard told them he knew of 12 local fire departments having dispatched water rescue teams during the recent flooding:

Bodega, Forestville, Geyserville, Graton, Monte Rio, North Sonoma Coast, Rincon Valley, Russian River, Santa Rosa, Schell-Vista, Sebastopol and Wilmar.

The Clover people came up with 12 envelopes, each containing certificates good for $24 worth of Clover ice cream. Bullard has been doling them out.

Kristel Corson, Clover’s vice president of sales and marketing, said that amid the heartache of the flooding, the company’s happy to help the firefighters who rushed to save lives — and perhaps appeared in news accounts doing so — to meet their ice cream obligations.

“We appreciate them and we want them to feel that appreciation,” Corson said.

Pretty sweet.