Running budget joke nets Garner Fire free toilet paper

kjahner@newsobserver.comMarch 25, 2014 

Lt. Jeff Wommack sits above 960 free rolls of toilet paper Garner Volunteer Fire and Rescue recieved from Charmin as part of their Charmin Relief Project, in which they gave a year's supply of toilet paper to a fire station in each state.


— It might not balance the fire budget, but it softens a typically messy process. All thanks to a running joke.

Charmin gave Garner Fire a one-year supply of toilet paper as a part of its program to provide such a donation to one fire department in each state.

“We’ll take what we can get,” deputy chief Tim Herman said. “Every little bit helps.”

The toilet paper giant delivers 960 rolls to each station awarded as part of the Charmin Relief Project. That amount is what’s considered a one-year supply for a station of 20 firefighters.

Garner Fire didn’t apply for the prize; it happened mostly by accident. Battalion Chief Donnie Lindsey, who manages station supplies, threatened to change toilet paper from 2-ply to 1-ply for all stations, according to Herman. Disgruntled reviews became a running joke at the department.

Chief Matt Poole allegedly told his employees “we will cut cost where we can, but quality toilet paper will be a last resort.” It didn’t come to that, as Lindsey shared a Charmin story about the donations on Facebook.

Charmin saw the post and contacted Garner Fire for more information, and when the running joke was shared, Charmin picked Garner as its beneficiary for North Carolina.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” Herman said.

But it wasn’t, and boxes of toilet paper soon arrived at the station.

The independent agency funded by the town and the county to provide fire protection to Garner and outlying unincorporated areas had a $3.68 million budget last year. It has requested an extra $250,000 in this year’s budget on top of its budget submision to the county, which asked for a zero-growth budget request.

Herman said he didn’t know the exact budgeted line item for toilet paper, but the donation will presumably save a few hundred dollars of standard two-ply purchased in bulk.

And that’ll be a relief for firefighters all over Garner.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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