Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Missouri man gives a very generous gift to his local volunteer firehouse

Sam Sloan decided to make good on a promise he made to himself decades ago when he got out of the cattle and seed processing business: donate to his Volunteer Fire Department.

“They need the money once I had the money. I’d been saving money for a long time,” Sloan said.

Sloan had an idea of the how cash-strapped the fire company was because he lives about 2 miles from it.

“I knew how much money they had each year to work with. I was in business for 40 or 50 years in this community,” he added.But Sloan had no idea that at the end of this year's first quarter, it had only $169 left in its bank account. 

“It’s like a Cinderella story, isn’t it?” Fire Chief Mark Hardin said. “We were relying on donations from other departments. That’s the only way we could get by,” he said.

Last month, Hardin got a phone call out of the blue from Sloan, a man he’d never met or spoken to in his life. Sloan had a simple request of being treated to breakfast. Then, a week later, another call and another ask for breakfast. 

Week three came around, and the phone call came, but this time, Sloan invited Hardin to his home.

“There were cinnamon rolls and doughnuts on the table, and his bookkeeper was there. ... His wife was there,” Hardin said. “Never had never talked to the man before in my life, and three weeks later, he hands me a check for half a million dollars.” 

The fire company is already putting the money to use, having just completed buying a new engine it needed. His only other terms for the gift: a large community barbecue once the department gets new uniforms and a request that the new fire engine leads the procession of his funeral. 

But Hardin and the rest of the company hope that won’t be for a long time!

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