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When these volunteer firefighters needed help, the community and local businesses stepped up. Keri Hensley/USA TODAY NETWORK

Furniture store donates $9,600 worth of furnishings

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AZTEC — The volunteer fire department in Aztec has new furniture and a new television set after two businesses donated the items.

The businesses learned about the department's old furniture and television through a fundraiser organized by Aztec City Commissioner Katee McClure.

McClure began visiting the volunteer fire department last year and was dismayed to discover the condition of the old furniture and the television. Department personnel had focused its efforts on obtaining equipment to fight fires, rather than creature comforts, and that left them with old couches and a television that did not meet their training needs.

The furniture was donated by the Ashley Furniture HomeStore after the owner and store manager heard about the fundraiser and the condition of the furniture at the fire department, which is staffed by volunteers.

"We wanted to reach out and help the community, so here we are," Store Manager Ronette Smith said.

Ashley Furniture HomeStore donated $9,600 worth of furniture, including two sofa sets, two accent chairs, a board room table, four office chairs, a bench and two rugs.

The new wooden table replaced a plastic fold-up table, and the sofas and chairs replaced old, worn-out furniture.

Fire Chief Kevin Simpson was impressed by the new furniture.

"It will certainly make (the volunteers) more comfortable," he said.

Meanwhile, Sam's Club donated a television set, and a man named Ken Baker, who lives out of state and has previously helped start a fire department, also donated a television. In addition to those donations, several people, including a former Aztec volunteer firefighter, have donated a total of $2,017.61 that will be used for other upgrades, including new flooring.

Ashley Furniture invited McClure, Fire Chief Kevin Simpson and fire department Lt. Theresa Simpson to pick out the furniture.

McClure said it felt a little like "you get everything you want for Christmas."

Within 24 hours of the store being provided with a wish list, owner Bill Johnston donated the items.

"I think it's awesome," Theresa Simpson said as the furniture was moved into the building Friday. "I'm just amazed. I mean, it's just wonderful. It's nice. We've never had anything like this before."

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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