The Winter Park Fire Department showed their appreciation to 4 Rivers Smokehouse Owner and Chef John Rivers last week by presenting him with a custom gift – a token of appreciation for his service to the community and the fire department.
The gift includes a firefighter helmet front printed with the 4R logo and the 4 Rivers name printed on a name panel made from fireproof material used on their actual turnout gear.
“It was a great surprise from Fire Chief White,” Rivers said.
“It was very confirming that we’re seen by the community and embraced by the community, more than just as a business. Our whole mission from day one was to embrace and support the community and pour into them.”
The very beginnings of 4 Rivers took place in Rivers’ garage, when he started a “barbecue ministry” in 2004 to raise money for a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer.
That grew into a passion for supporting local schools, churches and charitable organizations, and the ministry evolved into the first 4 River Smokehouse location opening up in October 2009.
“He’s been very successful in many of his locations in recent years,” Winter Park Fire Chief Jim White said. “Certainly he has returned a lot of that success to the community. He’s helped with a number of different community events and helped us with things here at the fire department with meals for events.”
The token was also a way of saying good luck as 4 Rivers prepares to open their Atlanta smokehouse within the next week – the first location outside the state of Florida.
It’s a two-story location inside a brick building that was once the Atlanta Fire Department’s Station 16, built back in 1921.
The station will be given new life as it’s transformed into the 14th 4 Rivers location.