IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KXPI) - Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz found a local nonprofit that creates awareness and raises funds for local police, fire, and emergency personnel. The founders said they are humbled by those who risk their lives everyday for our safety and security.
Kunz wanted to Pay It Forward to the group.
"I'm with Angie (Phillips) from Mountain America Credit Union and we're here with the Heroes Defense organization. They are having a meeting (inside) to plan for the big events next month, September, and September 11th and what not. They support first responders and we're just going to barge into their meeting. What do you think?" said Kunz, turning to Phillips, as they both are standing in a parking lot.
"Let's Pay It Forward," said Phillips, as she holds up an envelope of cash.
"Alright. It's time," said Kunz, as they walk toward the building. Phillips opens the front door to the business and walk in. They are greeted by a receptionist.
"Come on in and I will help you. I recognize you. You are famous," said the receptionist.
"Uh oh. Are they having their meeting yet?" asked Kunz.
"They're there now," she said.
"Can we just barge in?" asked Kunz.
"Sure," she said, leading them down a hallway and around the corner.
"Alright," said Kunz.
"It's right here," said the receptionist, as the walk into an large meeting room.
"Sorry to interrupt your meeting," said Kunz, talking to the group gathered around a table.
"You're good," said Travis Snowder, seated at the table.
"Todd Kunz with Channel 3 and Fox 5. And I know you're having a planning meeting for events next month. And I know that's important and yes, we are interrupting, but I have a reason because I've brought with me a friend. Angie," said Kunz.
"Good. We like friends," said Snowder.
"Alright, so I'm looking for Garrett and Travis," said Phillips.
"I'm Travis," said Snowder.
"Ok, so you two are the ring leaders of this whole organization, right?" asked Phillips.
"So-called," said Snowder.
"Guilty," said Garrett Meikle, seated on the other side of the table.
"I'm going to come over there. Well, surprise. I'm here with Mountain America Credit Union," said Phillips.
"Oh, awesome," said Meikle.
"And today we wanted to Pay It Forward to the Heroes Defense," said Phillips.
"Awesome," said Snowder.
"Because we think it's awesome what you guys are doing to support first responders and recognize their contributions in the community. They are essential to all of us and our safety and they do so much for everybody. So thank you for helping the helpers," said Phillips.
"Great," said Meikle.
"Today I've got $500," said Phillips.
"Sweet," said Meikle.
"Awesome," said Snowder.
"Awesome. Great," said Meikle.
"In cash to contribute," said Phillips.
"Thank you so much," said Snowder.
"Thanks you so much. We really appreciate it. It's going to be great," said Meikle.
Once all the excitement quieted down, Kunz asked Snowder and Meikle about the purpose of Heroes Defense. It has two goals. One, to raise awareness about what first responders go through every day. Second, to help where budgets don't always provide for all the necessary equipment and needs.
"So our objective with the funding, with the money we raise, is to help fill some of those gaps with equipment, resources, training, whatever they need," said Snowder.
"Travis and I have businesses that are tied and work closely with these first responders and everyday we see what they do for us in our communities and it's a way that we find a way to give back to them and show our appreciate in light of everything that they're doing every day," said Meikle.
Kunz asked about the community response to their organization. They said the Eastern Idaho area really steps up for first responders.
"There's people in the firefighter community back in New York City and things that have heard about our success here in little Eastern Idaho and they're like, 'where is this coming from?'" said Meikle.
"Uh, it's been amazing," said Snowder.
Heroes Defense has an upcoming banquet September 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls. Anyone is welcome. Tickets are available here from Heroes Defense. They also still have sponsorship slots open and are accepting donations for the silent auction.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at email@example.com.