Sometimes in life, there are opportunities that arise where your neighbor needs the support of a community to arise from devastation. In the case of the massive fires that shot up all over Colorado, the chance arose very close to home.
As I sat back and watched the news on the fires, taking the destruction in picture by picture, story after story, all I could think to do was to help those in need rebuild. Yes, there were the fundraisers popping up all over the Internet, but to directly help my neighbors to the north and south felt to be a better option.
A few calls and some preliminary plans later, pulling almost every favor in the books, the Firefighter Water Run was setup and ready to go. With local automotive shops up and down the front range, as well as a few other driven companies, dedicating space to collecting and storing supplies from community donations, the plan was set in motion to inspire a community outreach in an effort to collect and deliver supplies to the disaster stricken areas in Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins.
Then came the glaring problem, the proverbial elephant in the room if you may. To collect and deliver the already piling supplies would require something larger than the vehicles in my personal garage. That is when Nissan USA stepped in, graciously offering the use of their brand new 2012 Nissan NV commercial van for pickups and delivery. The best part of this was that it was red, a fitting color for the work ahead. The irony was not lost with the delivery of this Nissan, a brand that has never been reviewed on the pages of EuroBerge, but origin aside, the final logistic issue was solved.
This is not the typically commercial van that is seen roaming the streets. This is a whole new style, a complete package of utility and comfort, but with a styling that meant it would never get lost in the parking lot at the local hardware store. The exterior styling, very straightforward and ‘cubish’, is very bold and doesn’t hide the fact that it is in fact a work van. The back double doors, opening all the way, present a cargo area wide enough for a pallet to be easily loaded in, and enough length to easily hold the pallets in place without coming close to cutting into the seating area.
From the very start or the pickups, the Nissan NV was the biggest asset at our disposal, with its massive cargo area able to hold over 1500 bottles of water at a time, safely keeping the weight distributed across the full cargo hold. From each pickup location, we filled the van more and more until the NV was full, after which we headed down to the drop off points in Denver and Colorado Springs.
With the three delivery runs we made, I would like to think that the efforts of everyone that donated time and supplies truly helped out those who needed it. With each group that donated, it was not about the publicity or ata-boys that could have come with this kind of operation, but the idea of helping out our fellow man in a time of need. With so many communities affected by the fires, it was hard to turn a blind eye.
As for the supplies we delivered, well, it was quite a lot. Over 3500 bottles of water, 100 bottles of Gatorade, 100 boxes of energy bars, and quite a few miscellaneous boxes of snacks, the impact of the local automotive community coming together was apparent.
And the 2012 Nissan NV performed spectacularly, with the perfect amount of power to get to and from the drop off locations with the cargo, comfort inside enough for a fatigueless 2 hour drive, and a smooth ride even when loaded down. Even when packed full of water, the van had no issue getting up to or holding speed, all while feeling safe and comfortable.
In the end, this whole idea was neither about the van, nor the shops and companies involved, but about helping our fellow neighbors through a community effort. But without the community coming together, companies big and small donating their time and money, it would never have happened. So for that, I thank each and every person who said yes, who gave something, during our drive.
A special thank you to the following companies for the time and donations:
- Nissan USA
- Audi USA
- Great Big Color
- 3Zero3 Motorsports
- Peak Eurosport
- Hardey’s Motorwerks
- Exotic Image Detailing