Before Terry Rue and Al Swett joined GFS in 1990 and 2003 respectively, they also served as volunteers for the Osseo Rural Fire Department. While there have been many changes since the beginning of their careers — including a name change from JBI to GFS — what has remained constant is their dedication to the fire department, as well as GFS’ commitment to honoring and supporting our first responders.
In a rural community like Osseo, Wisconsin, individuals who are sent to an emergency scene are not paid for their time. The local fire department consists of volunteers with full-time jobs who sacrifice their time, safety and — many times — pay to help those in a crisis.
Fortunately, GFS employees do not have to decide between responding to an emergency call and having a career. From the manufacturing floor, where you can find Al and firefighter-in-training Cory Lange, to the office, where Terry works in design, all were quick to mention the positive role GFS plays in allowing them to balance both their day job and volunteer firefighting efforts.
According to Terry, “There has never been a time we have been told we can’t leave or respond to an emergency call. Many companies won’t let their employees leave until they have been paged multiple times by the fire department, but at GFS, we can take off as soon as we are needed.”
Not only does GFS give their employees the flexibility to respond, firefighters are also offered up to four hours a month of paid reimbursement for their service. They are able to personally manage their workload around the training and other commitments necessary to be a firefighter.
“My boss has allowed me the ability to manage my weekly work schedule so I can take Wednesday afternoons off to perform fire inspections around town,” said Terry. “It’s important that I’m able to control when I get my work done so I can still do these important inspections for our community.”
GFS also financially supports the Osseo Fire Department, especially with the fire department’s recent relocation to a new facility only a block from GFS headquarters.
“GFS helped with the purchase of both Jaws of Life and ropes equipment,” said Al. “Our Charitable Donations committee even made it possible to purchase new appliances for the kitchen at the new fire department.”
GFS understands the sacrifices first responders make and the essential role they play in the community they serve. Because of this, it remains a top priority that GFS employees who are first responders are allowed the flexibility and support necessary to continue their efforts.