Driving a beer truck, Santa delivers cans of water to area first responders and firefighters – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Driving a beer truck, Santa delivers cans of water to area first responders and firefighters

Osage County area firefighters and emergency personnel gathered to accept a gift of drinking water from Anheuser Busch and Flint Hills Beverage. Helping to unload and distribute the water to local fire departments were, from left, Gary Kitt, OCFD No. 3 Melvern, Charlie Porting and Sean Rewerts, Osage County EMS, Greg McCurdy, Osage County Emergency Management, Casey Mussatto and Trevor Keeffe, Flint Hills Beverage, Brent Rose, OCFD No. 7 Quenemo, Bryce Romine, OCFD No. 5 Lyndon, Dan Romine, OCFD No. 2 Osage City, and Randall Wilson, OCFD No. 7 Quenemo.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – With the help of the local Anheuser Busch distributor, Santa Claus dropped off an early Christmas present for area firefighters and emergency personnel. Although Flint Hills Beverage sales manager Trevor Keeffe delivered the gift in a Bud Light truck, it wasn’t a load of beer. Instead Keeffe unloaded a pallet of canned drinking water at the Osage City fire station Dec. 12, 2023, as part of Anheuser Busch’s emergency drinking water program.

The company’s water program began as a way to provide drinking water to people affected by natural disasters. In 2019, the program was expanded as the Emergency Drinking Water for Wildland Firefighters program. Since the program began, the company has delivered more than 6.5 million cans of water to more than 1,400 fire departments across the United States. Every year, Anheuser-Busch periodically pauses beer production to can emergency drinking water to be ready to help during emergencies or natural disasters.

The wild firefighters program began as a way to help fire personnel maintain proper hydration while fighting fires, which is critical for them to perform at their best and avoid health consequences from extreme heat, physical exertion, and loss of fluids.

“Firefighters need to stay hydrated while fighting fires, and especially with the wild grass fires our local firefighters have to deal with,” said Casy Mussatto, Flint Hills Beverage co-owner. “The Anheuser Busch drinking water program is one way we can help our fire departments obtain water they need to keep hydrated.”

Keeffe said Flint Hills Beverage wants other local fire departments to know about the program, especially in the area the distributorship covers in northcentral Kansas.

“We are trying to get more community fire departments involved so they can save some money and have extra drinking water, too,” Keeffe said.

The water can be obtained by submitting an application during the specified application periods. Fire departments can also request emergency allocations of water when actively fighting fires throughout the year. Information about the program and how to apply can be found on the National Volunteer Fire Council’s website at www.nvfc.org/anheuser-busch-emergency-drinking-water-for-wildland-firefighters.

Mussatto said the water delivered to Osage County Fire District No. 2 was requested by Osage County Emergency Management, and would be distributed to fire departments in Osage County. Several Osage County fire department volunteers were on hand to help with unloading and dividing up the cases for local departments. A pallet load of water, 98 24-packs of 12 oz. cans, was delivered to the Osage City fire station.

In addition to the emergency water program, Anheuser Busch also offers another program that helps firefighters and military personnel, Mussatto said. Anheuser Busch partners with the Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of U.S. military service members, and now first responders, who have fallen or been disabled while serving our country and communities.

In 2023, Folds of Honor was expanded with Bud Light’s commitment to present educational scholarships to families of first responders. Throughout the 2023-2024 NFL season, Bud Light will be joined by its NFL team partners in honoring families who sacrificed for our country and communities. For more information about Folds of Honor, see budlight.com/folds-of-honor.

For more information about the drinking water program or Folds of Honor, contact Mussatto or Keeffe at Flint Hills Beverage, 785-528-4211, Osage City, Kan., or see flinthillsbeverage.com.

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