CRESTVIEW — A local assisted living home’s residents needn’t worry about bathing facilities and toilets.
Today, Mike Duffer, president and owner of the Nashville-based Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co., surprised Crestview Manor's 60 residents with two free walk-in hydrotherapy tubs and the promise of 3,000 toilet paper rolls a year.
The tubs are being installed Saturday — one on each floor — and the toilet paper will keep rolling as long as Safe Step and Crestview Manor remain in business, Duffer said.
He became aware of the low-income residents' needs with an email from Crestview resident Shirley Perring, who — with coworkers at the Jackson Hewitt tax preparation office — supports Crestview Manor as a community service project.
Their involvement began around Easter when they offered to help Emerald Coast Hospice deliver "Baskets of Blessings" to the assisted living facility's residents.
Later, while home recuperating from back surgery, Perring contacted tub and toilet paper manufacturers.
"The tub is dangerous and looks like something out of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’" Perring wrote in an email, referring to the film about patients in a decrepit mental facility.
"I wrote an email and the rest is history," she said. "Never in a million years did I think I would get it."
Safe Step Cares, the company's nationwide philanthropy program, has received "hundreds of requests" for donations, Derek Farley, president of Safe Step's public relations agency, said.
"The tub request we’re used to," he stated in an email. "The toilet paper request took us by surprise for very good reason: we don’t make toilet paper."
Though Safe Step wouldn't provide a value for the donated tubs, the units, which include custom installation, reportedly range between $10,000 and $15,000.
The toilet paper is estimated to cost Safe Step around $1,500 a year, Farley said.
“We’re a very blessed company and it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to make these life-changing donations,” Duffer said. “We are thrilled to bring comfort, independence, safety and convenience to Crestview Manor.”
“This is truly a miracle donation,” Crestview Manor director Becky Brice-Nash said. “It was a donation of a lifetime for some very special people, and beyond our wildest dreams.”
In addition to presenting the tubs and toilet paper, Safe Step treated residents to gift bags of toiletries and a catered lunch from Hub City Barbecue.
"It's mindboggling that this could happen and get this big," Perring said. "This all started with our little Crestview office doing Baskets of Blessings (in April). Unbelievable!"
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.