News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013
THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's what firefighters consider their home away from home and now the fire station in Thomson is getting a makeover.
Out of more than 9,000 entries, the Thomson Fire Department on McCommons Street was chosen to win a firehouse makeover.
"I think each time you walk through that door it's gonna bring a smile to your face," said firefighter Ron Cody.
Cody has been with the Thomson Fire Department for five years. A few months ago, he applied to win the makeover and to his surprise, he won.
"It was amazing," he said. "I didn't think it was gonna be possible. Out of 9,000 entries, I'm number one? That's lucky."
The outside of the building may still look the same, but when you walk through the door, it's a whole different story.
"I can't believe it," said Cody, looking around the new firehouse. "It looks nice. It looks good."
It's a complete redesign of the inside of the station with more seating, an eating area, new TVs, washer-dryers and beds that are now big enough for the full-grown firefighters.
"It's a total transformation from what we had just a few weeks ago," said Fire Chief Rick Sewell.
It doesn't just look better, it's also better for training.
"The fire rescue TV has a lot of training information on there," Cody said. "A lot of scenarios with other stations around the United States."
On Thursday, they unveiled the changes and the mayor even came by to see what the new station had to offer.
For the first responders, their home away from home now really feels like home.
"We might be working 12 hours or 24 hours away from home, but we're still at home," Cody said.
Cody says winning the contest was pure luck, but to his chief, it's not. He says it's something these guys deserve.
"They give so much to the community every day; it's just great when somebody wants to give something back to them," Sewell said.
The contest was put on by California Casualty, an insurance company. Cody entered online, filling in his basic details and providing a short narrative of why they needed the $15,000 makeover.