Passion, Patriotism and People in Pursuit of “Doing Good”

Doing what you love and loving what you do is sometimes the best measure of success when “Doing Good” is your mantra. When your obsession as a publicist is championing non-profits, charities, and foundations with great causes, it’s easy to understand why I am motivated to become one of the best communications consultants in St. Louis.

Historically, I have worked charities from both coasts. I have enjoyed working with Firefighter and Police non-profits, veterans, and military non-profits, and civic and political/community non-profits.  And, while my team does not often do pro-bono work when we do, it’s for a cause that pulls on our heartstrings and there’s usually a personal connection.

Chris Kuban with Gary Sinise Doing GoodDuring my more then 9 year working relationship with Gary Sinise and the Gary Sinise Foundation I became friends with a very special group of firefighters from Seattle, Washington. They were the Northwest Fire Velo. These firefighter cyclists are some of the most fit and all around most amazing people I know. They are fund-raising machines, championing for great causes.  When I first met them several years ago, I was in awe as they cycled from Seattle to the National Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs. 

Fire Velo Ride Doing Good Across AmericaThis year, on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, this group of amazing firefighters rode from East coast to West coast to raise funds for four firefighter and Veteran organizations. Over 40 days they rode from LA to Ground Zero in what was called the “Never Forget Ride for America” tour. Funds raised during this ride will support four Firefighter and Veteran organizations. The Gary Sinise Foundation,  Fire Family Foundation, Friends of Firefighters, Inc. and San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation are receiving a share of funds raised.

Because I followed past rides on social media and because I’m friends with a few of the riders, I was given a ‘heads-up’ that they were coming through St. Louis on day 24 of this year’s commemorative ride.  And since I love a great cause, I decided to make their St. Louis stop extra special… and we pulled out all the stops! Because publicity and events are my specialty, I pulled together my resources and created the perfect press conference!

Dennis Jenkerson at Fire Velo Press Conference Doing GoodI want to shout a message of thanks to a few people who contributed to making this press conference a truly special event.  To the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for providing 5 Traffic and Police Cars to assist with an escort – Thank you! To Chief Jenkerson and the St. Louis City Fire Department for providing 2 Ladder Trucks with a HUGE American Flag draped over Market Street – Thank you! And to Mark Sundlov from St. Louis Soldiers Memorial for allowing us to use Soldiers Memorial as a backdrop to our 9/11 Press Conference – Thank you!  

The event was epic with all 3 of the St. Louis television news stations broadcasting the event live! In addition to getting multiple hits on morning news, several stations packaged the story and re-ran it over the weekend!

Here is where the story became more personal for me…

Immediately after the press conference and the obligatory group photo on Market Street with the American Flag and St. Louis Arch the backdrop, they decided to get one last photo in front of the St. Louis Firefighters Memorial.  As a kid (or roughly 25+ years ago) my parents told a story about a family member being in a similar image. I couldn’t remember much more so I started to investigate.

Firefighter Ralph Jones Photo for St. Louis Firefighters Memorial Doing GoodThrough some research, I found that the Firefighters Memorial statue was created from a St. Louis Globe Democrat photo taken around 1985. This photo was of Firefighter Ralph Jones who was rescuing a child form a burning home in St. Louis.

YES, the memorial was designed in the image of Ralph Jones, my Great Uncle!  He was married to my Aunt “Shorty” – Yes, everyone called her Aunt Shorty because she was super short! Her actual name was Bernice Jones. As kids, we would often visit them in DeSoto, Missouri on our way to S bar F Scout Ranch.

This 9/11 nationwide tribute ride truly became personal, especially when I was asked to get in the last photo this group took in St. Louis in front of the Firefighters Memorial, which includes a likeness of my Great Uncle Ralph.

If you are inspired by my story and that of my friends from Northwest Fire Velo, I want to encourage you to make this 9/11 personal for you as well by donating to the Fire Velo cause. They are making a meaningful impact each day they are on the road.   

Chris KubanChris Kuban started Chemistry PR and Multimedia with a vision to effectively formulate corporate and non-profit brands across the country. In doing so, he has become an expert in Media Relations, Event Management, Social Media implementation and video production. He engages, coordinates and oversees a diverse team of local and national suppliers, vendors, employees and consultants, allowing him to successfully coordinate over 120 national events focusing on overall logistics, media relations and his clients’ expected ROI. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.