Firehouse Subs real life-saver

Camden sheriff gets 15 defibrillators

081018 Firehouse
1 of 3

Brandon Blount (left), a resource specialist with the Camden Sheriff's Office, and Jerry Newell, director of Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services, demonstrate how to use an automated external defibrillator, or AED, at Firehouse Subs of Elizabeth City, Thursday. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation donated 15 AEDs to the Camden County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. The donation is worth $19,626.

081018 Firehouse
081018 Firehouse

By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, August 10, 2018

Camden County officials celebrated a life-saving donation from Firehouse Subs on Thursday, thanking the sandwich chain for giving the county nearly $20,000 worth of defibrillators.

“It’s definitely going to save lives,” said Camden Sheriff Rodney Meads, whose office sought and won 15 automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

The donation is worth $19,626 and was made possible through the strong fundraising of Chris and Jennifer Purcell, according to Firehouse officials. The Purcells own the Firehouse Subs in Elizabeth City.

Meads said the sheriff’s office now has enough AEDs to put one in every patrol car. That’s important, he said, because sheriff’s deputies are often first on the scene, and may need to immediately defibrillate patients whose hearts have stopped. Defibrillation refers to administering a shock to restore normal heart rhythm.

Meads also said that, since receiving the AEDs this spring, the Camden Sheriff’s Office has already put one to use.

Chris Pietrzyk, a representative of the Firehouse Subs foundation, briefly shared the history of the company and its foundation at Thursday’s event.

Firehouse Subs was founded by firefighters in 1994, and the company started the foundation in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. The foundation raises money by asking customers to round up their orders to the nearest dollar, with the change going to the foundation, as well as through selling pickle buckets and soliciting direct donations. Since the foundation’s founding, it’s donated more than $1.2 million to first responders in North Carolina, Pietrzyk said.

He also noted some $135,000 of that total has flowed through the Purcells’ restaurant, praising them for their strong fundraising and community support.

Chris Purcell said he was proud his store alone accounted for about 11 percent of grants made to North Carolina, and praised his employees as a driving factor in that success. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in fact donated a similar amount of equipment to the Elizabeth City police and fire departments in April. The foundation donated 15 bulletproof vests, valued at $12,023, to the fire department, and six AEDs, valued at $8,647, to the police department.

Numerous local officials also attended Thursday’s event, including Camden County Commissioners Tom White and Garry Meiggs, Camden County Manager Ken Bowman. state Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, and representatives for U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis also attended, and offered brief remarks.

Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services Director Jerry Newell also offered a demonstration of how the AEDs work. Once hooked up to a patient, they analyze them and will only deliver shocks if the patient lacks normal heart rhythm. He joked that the only way to hurt someone with an AED would be to hit them with one.