While Shippensburg first responders tackle the emergencies of others, Branch Creek Place made sure the health of these men and women are not forgotten.

A healthy first responder is fully hydrated, and thus, the Shippensburg senior center set a goal of providing 100 cases of water for Shippensburg’s three fire stations, and one EMS station. Director Diana Nazario, who took over the center’s helm in November, said Wednesday they exceeded their goal, compiling a total of 107 cases, or about $350 worth of liquid, over a month’s time. That’s more than 2,400 bottles of water for responders to quench their thirst, thanks to the effort of 50-60 seniors.

Members of the stations stopped by Branch Creek Place, Thursday afternoon, and were very grateful for the donation. Responders picked up the cases and loaded them onto their respective emergency vehicles as some of the seniors took time to watch.

Cumberland Valley Hose Co. and Vigilant Hose Co. were the first unit to pick up their share of the water Thursday.

“It means a lot to us. It helps us get through the day when we are addressing a fire in extreme heat. It really cools us off a bit,” said Capt. Raymond Penwell.

Days of extreme weather, like Thursday, are moments when responders will benefit the most, along with calls for house fires and barn fires, he noted. Thursday’s temperatures reached as high as 99 degrees in Shippensburg.

Penwell added: “They sure do look like they love us a lot. I appreciate them donating this water to us. It definitely means a lot.”

Over the last month, seniors would drop off a few dollars here and there to Nazario’s desk, and occasionally contributed actual cases themselves. With the money donated, Nazario said she took three trips to BJ’s Wholesale Club to gather water for Thursday’s pickup.

“It’s such a beautiful thing to see that the seniors care enough for the first responders to do this all together,” Nazario said. “It takes a mountain of people to try to get together and get all this water. I mean, one person couldn’t accomplish it. They are going to need a fire department or EMS to come to their house if something ever happens to them.”

West End Fire & Rescue Co. and Shippensburg Area E.M.S. weren’t far behind Thursday and collected their water from the seniors.

Brendon Cullen, membership director of West End, said, “It means a lot to have the community giving back. It makes us feel like we’re doing our part in helping the community, and that the community sees us, and they want to help us out.”

He noted the water will come in handy for the summer and anytime during the longer calls.

The seniors at Branch Creek also donated water to first responders last year.

Sonny Force, who has been a member of Branch Creek Place for three years, participated in this year’s and last year’s water collection drive. He said they brought in a lot more water this year, compared to last year, thanks to their new director. He and his wife contributed a few packs of their own this go-round.

“If they don’t drink water, they won’t live long enough to do this,” Force said. “The doctors say you got to drink a lot of water. I’m 76. That’s something I never did drink much of.”

The afternoon lent time for the seniors to see the completion of their efforts. Nazario described the seniors as being excited to contribute to the final water total, and many of those seniors were excited to stick around for the 1 p.m. pick-up.

“Usually, by 2 p.m. they are all gone -- after lunch they start dwindling, and we have a few left, but they all stuck around,” she said.

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