As the Panthers purchased new weight room equipment this offseason, strength and conditioning coach Jeremy Scott wanted to find a way to donate what would no longer be in use.
The team began making some donations to local schools, but things changed once they shut down and were no longer able to accept donations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortuitously, Scott eventually connected with Jason Brady, Lieutenant at Gray's Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Hope Mills, N.C., and that sparked an idea.
"Jason sent me an email about them needing some equipment and things of that nature, and was wondering if we were getting rid of anything. It was just great timing," Scott said. "I was like, shoot, this is great idea. So I emailed him back and let him know that I would check with some people to make sure it was OK. Then we were able to donate a bunch of things."
The building Brady and the rest of the department use is approaching 50 years, so a new one is being constructed. That will be about three times larger and will house a workout room. And because the station has limited funds, Brady is in charge of securing grants and equipment that can be used to help improve the department.
That's why he initially sent an email to a few weeks ago Scott — on a whim and on the off-chance something could come of it.
"You know, if you don't ask the answer's always no," Brady said. "So I sent a couple emails and one of those was to Jeremy Scott. Right away, he replied back and said, 'Let me see what we can do.'"
Brady was struck not only by how quickly Scott replied, but also his willingness to help. After Scott was able to get the donation cleared, Brady and a few other volunteers picked it up. They received, among other items, adjustable benches, combo racks, dumbbells, bars, and plates.
"Man, it was like Christmas morning to us," Brady said. "We got quite a bit of stuff. We are we're really, really excited. Hopefully we'll be in the new station in the next couple of weeks."
Brady added that it's great to experience firsthand how those within the organization care about the community.
"I've done a few things in the past where I've reached out to people and they've responded. But the Panthers — like any NFL team or organization that large — just kind of seem out of reach to some people," Brady said. "So to realize, the Panthers are made up of people living in the same world, and to know that we can work together — they might have our back, and we've got somebody else's back, and we're all there for each other — it's an awesome feeling."
And Scott is glad the equipment could go to first responders, who are on the front lines serving the community.
"It was kind of a no brainer for us," Scott said. "I think it's just a great opportunity to help them out in a time of need when they need some things and give back to the community."
"Obviously, you feel great to be able to help out local heroes, people who put their life on the line to come help you. And especially from a fitness standpoint, which is what we do for the team, I think it's awesome."
The Panthers recently donated used weight room equipment to a fire department station in Hope Mills, N.C.