Spectacular entrances are traditional at the CMA Awards along the Macy’s Walk of Stars, but it’s safe to say no one will soon top the 2012 arrival of Bucky Covington, who showed up aboard a vintage Nashville Fire Department truck as red flashers whirled.
Aside from fulfilling every kid’s fantasy, Covington chose this vehicle to inspire support for firefighters who lost their lives or suffered debilitating injuries while on the job.
This story begins about a year ago, when the young singer got involved with Help the Good Guys, which supports the families of firefighters and police officers killed or injured in the line of duty. “The first guy I met through them was Brad Dean, a carpenter who volunteered with the fire department in Birmingham, Ala.,” he recalled. “Fifty percent of his body from the waist down had been burned in a fire, which made it impossible for him to work.”
Covington gets emotional when he talks about these people — these “heroes,” as he calls them. So it was only natural that he would connect with Kidde, the world’s largest manufacturer of residential fire safety products. His reasoning, that effective alarm systems could help prevent further death and injuries, dovetailed with Kidde’s philosophy.
“We want to raise awareness that not only do families need to replace the batteries in the smoke alarms they have, but that there are also technologies out there that make it possible for families to not worry about it,” said Heather Caldwell, Communications Manager, Kidde. “We launched a new line of sealed lithium battery smoke alarms on Nov. 1 — conveniently, CMA Awards day — whose batteries last for a full 10 years.”
With Covington signed on as spokesperson in conjunction with the nonprofit organizations the National Firefighters Foundation and Help the Good Guys, Kidde launched the “Be a Hero/Save a Hero” campaign. Through television spots and PSAs produced by ABC, aired in select markets during CMA Awards week, and continuing on select ABC stations, CMT, Facebook and Twitter through December, viewers are encouraged to visit AlarmPledge.com and promise to install, regularly test and eventually replace smoke alarms at home. For every pledge ”shared” and ”liked,” Kidde will donate up to $10,000 to each partner nonprofit.
“This is a truly collaborative campaign, with CMA and ABC putting this together,” said Debra O’Connell, Senior VP, Advertising Sales, ABC National TV Sales. “We certainly feel that the presence and excitement around the Macy’s Walk of Stars is the best way to kick off this program.”
“It takes money to run every charity out there,” Covington said. “But first you’ve got to get the awareness out there. I’m a Country Music singer, so I can bring that awareness and that will help bring immediate financial relief for firefighters and their families. That’s a lot better than strapping on a guitar, singing 12 songs, saying’ Thank you! Good night!’ and then you’re on the bus to the next town.”
By Bob Doerschuk – CMA Up Close