Sometimes life catches you off guard, but what you do when faced with tragedy matters. We’ve set out to surprise our “Good Customers” who have fallen on hard times and need an “Act of Goodness.” When a tragic house fire disrupted the Smith family’s life, we immediately stepped in to help.  

Meet the Smith Family:

Four days after the holidays, a Phoenix family lost everything they owned in a tragic house fire. It engulfed their home and destroyed Christmas presents that had been opened just days before.

The electrical fire broke out about an hour after Joel and Gilma Smith left for work on December 29th. Their 14-year-old son was asleep when he noticed his sister’s bedroom was in flames and billowing smoke. He was able to save one of their pet dogs before escaping the inferno unharmed. Luckily, when the fire department arrived, they rescued the family’s second dog.

Fortunately, no one was harmed, but the home and the family’s belongings were incinerated.

When the FirstBank team at our Ahwatukee location learned about the tragedy, they immediately wanted to help. Sarah Leach, Branch Operations Manager, collaborated with her team to invite the Smiths in for a special surprise. The Smiths were gifted $1,500 for immediate expenses, $800 in vouchers for groceries and meal delivery services, a brand-new Xbox console, game pass, and controllers for the family’s four kids. The team even provided dog toys for the family’s two dogs.

To top it all off, FirstBank’s partner, the Phoenix Suns/Mercury also gifted the family six tickets to an upcoming Suns game, a stadium credit for concessions and Suns gear to match.

The Acts of Goodness surprise brought tears of joy to the recipients and was an emotional event for branch employees as well.

“To be able to help this family in their time of need was such an amazing experience, and I just feel so blessed to have been a part of it. I’m very grateful to work for a company that undoubtedly values their customers and their employees and truly believes in Banking for Good.”    

– Sarah Leach, FirstBank Branch Operations Manager

Though their home is insured, the process of getting things back to normal is just beginning. Currently, the family is staying at a borrowed mobile home and has received additional donations from their community.

While the Smiths have a long road ahead of them, they are accepting donations through their GoFundMe.

In addition to helping customers like the Smiths who have been affected by tragic fires, FirstBank also supports dozens of nonprofits aimed at helping emergency relief funds through Colorado Gives Day and Arizona Gives Day. As well, FirstBank donated $250,000 to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, which supplied financial assistance to those impacted by the Marshall fire.

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