April 09, 2022 3 Comments
The Fire Dept. Coffee team is the absolute heart of our operation.
That’s why we consider them family.
No one at Fire Dept. Coffee better represents the level of care and commitment that we all strive for like our Chief Operating Officer Larry Walton.
As is the case with so many members of the FDC family, Larry is a full-time firefighter as well as COO of our fast-growing coffee company. Larry is a native of Kirkland, Illinois, just a short drive from our homebase in Rockford.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville in 2014, he returned home and became a firefighter-paramedic with the Rockford Fire Department, where he’s currently assigned to a Suppression/Extrication company.
It was at the Rockford Fire Department that he met Fire Dept. Coffee founder Luke Schneider, and that relationship set Larry on the path to a second career.
“I developed a friendship with Luke, and he shared the company vision with me,” Larry said. “I was all in.”
As Chief Operating Officer, Larry is involved with nearly every aspect of what we do. His job is to make sure the entire operation is running smoothly, and he never hesitates to step in and help out any member of the team when an issue arises.
“Larry is a guy you want on your team. He’s a great leader, and you know he's not going to give up as soon as things get tough. If he's in, he’s all in,” said Luke
Larry said he enjoys the day-to-day challenge of helping grow Fire Dept. Coffee, and he appreciates being part of a company that uses its resources and its charitable foundation to support firefighters and other first responders when they need it most.
Larry has seen first hand the compassion that runs through the Fire Dept. Coffee family because he’s recently faced unique challenges within his own family.
His young daughter, Magnolia, was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, a condition in which joints become permanently fixed in a bent or straightened position. It can impact the function and range of motion of the joint.
AMC is diagnosed at birth and affects about 1 in 3,000 people. While there is no cure, there are treatments that can improve the range of motion and the functioning of the joints.
Larry and his wife, Jessica, have begun doing everything they can for Magnolia, as well as helping to raise awareness for the condition with the goal of helping advance the science to provide more effective treatments.
Jessica started a Facebook page and a Tiktok account to share her story, and “Nollie” has even appeared in some Fire Dept. Coffee videos, even as she travels the country for the best treatment.
“We took Magnolia to Florida when she was 3 months old to receive treatment at a facility that is well known throughout the world,” Larry said. “There we completed intense therapy five times a week and also had a procedure done. We are now doing therapy back home but will travel to Florida off and on for procedures and checkups for the foreseeable future. We also do stretches at home daily. She has progressed so much in her first year of life.”
Larry said he’s thankful for all the support he’s received from his Fire Dept. Coffee family, whether it’s financially or emotionally.
“And it just so happens that [Fire Dept. Coffee VP] Jason Patton lives 30 minutes away from the treating facility in Florida,” Larry said. “So we're able to spend time with our coffee family while we're down there.”
We’re all grateful for all that Larry does for Fire Dept. Coffee, and we’re inspired by all that he and Jessica do for Magnolia. It’s an honor to have him on our team and part of the family.
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