Over the last several
months, LDN has been working on putting together a product the city
firefighters can use throughout the year, but especially in the fall
when they do their special fire safety training at all the Lincoln
While LDN put the books together, the real
heart of this story is the local businesses that came together and
helped fund the project.
When Hargis started working on gathering sponsorships for the
coloring book, she knew she had to get enough to pay for the design
of the book and the printing costs.
With other big projects going on, such as the annual Business
Directory and the Farm Outlook magazine, she expected it might be
difficult to get sponsors to write out one more check.
However, much to her surprise, once word got out that the book
was being done, that it would be gifted to fire department and in
turn given to local children, sponsors started calling her.
"I got calls, and someone would say, 'I hear you're doing a
coloring book. I want to be part of that,'" Hargis said.
In the end 22 local businesses bought into the book, allowing LDN
to cover all the costs of producing the book and order enough copies
that the fire department will be well stocked for the coming year.
The local advertisers who participated are Abraham Lincoln
Memorial Hospital, Best Western Plus, Carpet House, Castle Manor,
Eaton, Fire Apparatus & Supply Team, Friendship Manor, Graue Inc.,
Guzzardo's Italian Villa, H&R Block, Illinois American Water,
Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln Heating & Cooling, Lincoln
Logan/May Enterprise Insurance, Lincoln McDonald's, Logan County
Bank, Maple Ridge Care Centre, McEntire Roofing, Montessori
Children's House of Lincoln, Moriearty and Harris-Hodnett Insurance,
St. Clara's Manor, and State Bank of Lincoln.
In addition, Doug and Jennifer Brickey of Brickey Printing & Photography
contributed a huge portion to the project in the extra work they put
into the coloring book.
Hargis explained that when the book went to the printer, the
bright red color of the cover was causing drag marks on the pages.
Instead of letting it go, the Brickeys and their staff fed the pages
through their printer one at a time, following with a white paper to
absorb the drag marks. At no extra charge, they also did a semigloss
coating on the cover to lock in the color so it would not rub off on
Youngquist commented on the Brickeys' commitment to the project,
saying they did way more than was expected to in order to produce
a product the fire department could be proud to give to area
Tuesday afternoon, firefighters Tim Aper, Bret Tripplett and Chief
Mark Miller were at the station to talk about the books as well.
Aper and Tripplett are the ones primarily responsible for
coordinating the weeklong school visit program in the public schools
each fall, and all the firefighters take turns visiting the schools
on their daily shifts.
Aper said the fire department has very little funding for
educational materials, but they visit approximately 1,100 children
in the public schools during the year. "Some of the kids get to know
us and they remember us from year to year, but giving them something
they can have and take home with them is really important," he said.
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He added that the department had looked into making a purchase of
coloring books and found they just didn't have the budget for it, as
it would have been a $4,000 to $6,000 investment. In addition, he
said they had looked for other sources, but what they found that was
available at little or no cost was so out of date. "The people in
the pictures looked like they were from the 1960s," he said.
Tripplett said he thought the product LDN has turned out for
them is a valuable tool that the department would not have been able
When the book was being put together, a lot of hours went into
it, not only on the part of LDN, but also by Aper and Tripplett.
Pages were drafted and taken to the department for the two to view
and comment on changes that might need to be made.
In addition, the chief drafted a letter to parents, and it is a
part of the finished product.
Tripplett also commented on that, saying: "The 'Dear Parent'
letter is really a big deal. We hope it will get parents involved in
The book is a coloring book the kids can enjoy, but it is also a
teaching tool. Pages contain fire safety lessons and information
that children can learn and share. When they have gone through their
entire book, they can bring the certificate of completion on the
back cover to the fire department and Chief Miller will sign it for
Youngquist, who is the chief graphic artist for the paper, was
given credit for the layout design of the project, but he was quick
to say he was not solely responsible for anything. "There were a lot
of eyes on the project, and that is why it turned out as well as it
did," he said. "It wasn't just one person."
Hargis was the one who came up with the idea of doing the book.
She explained she had read a comment by Chief Miller in one of his
monthly reports that is published in LDN, indicating that the
department didn't have the resources for such things. "I thought,
well, we can do that," she said.
As the director of advertising for LDN, Hargis is in the business
of selling the ads that make payroll possible for LDN. "We sell
advertising to make money," she said without apology, "but we also
want the community to know we can do things because we care."
Like the Brickeys, who went above and beyond to produce a nice book
for the department and in turn, for the kids, the work done by LDN
was a matter of doing what you can, when you can, with the talents
In the end, though, the ones who deserve the thanks are the
sponsors. LDN would encourage everyone to take note of those who
paid the way for this project and be sure to let them know they are
[By NILA SMITH]