NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Portsmouth couple takes action for firefighters with a simple cup of coffee

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-09 18:41:54-05

Portsmouth, Va. - The firefighters who work on the B Shift at Fire Station 1 in Portsmouth were back on Elm Street Friday to say thank you to a husband and wife who took action to keep them warm.

Shae and Stephen Pepper live just doors down from the firefighters battled an early morning house, where temps were below zero.

"Everything was bad," said Captain Jeff Jochens. "Your mask froze up, your gloves froze up."

It was the first major fire in Portsmouth this year in which five people lost everything and two firefighters got hurt. The crews say it was stressful and bitterly cold. That's why the Peppers took action.

"If it were me doing something out in the cold like that, I would have wanted something to warm up," Shae said.

Shae saw on Facebook that the family lost everything and needed blankets. She went down the street to bring them to the scene and realized the condition in which the guys were working.

"All I saw was the police officer all covered up; all I could see was his eyes as I handed him the blankets," she added.

So she decided to go get dressed, grab her husband and drive to Starbucks where she got enough coffee for everyone.

"Sometimes we don't feel appreciated by the public, honestly," said Captain Jochens. "This is rare that someone does something like this, it does mean a lot. It really does."

Because of that, the firefighters, whose job is to take care of us, came by to thank the Peppers for taking care of them.

"When it's seven degrees out, and the wind is blowing 30 miles per hour, it really made a difference," said Batallion Chief Rick Hudak.

The firefighters gave the Peppers t-shirts, a coin and a gift card to -- you guessed it -- Starbucks.

NewsChannel 3 also presented the husband and wife with a People Taking Action award and a $300 dollar gift certificate from our partners at Southern Bank.

Taking action, getting results with a simple cup of coffee.