Philadelphia region with new heroes, bank cash

Firstrust Bank - plaque for donation

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in tomorrow’s edition.

Heroes aren’t born.They’re made, at places like the Montgomery County Tactical Response Training Center.

The 23,000-square foot weapons and anti-terrorism building in Conshohocken was built at a cost of $10.8 million with the help of more than 50 corporate and private donors, like Firstrust Bank.

“As a bank, safety and security are important for us,” said Tim Abell, president and chief operating officer of the Conshohocken-based bank.

With nearly a third of their 24 locations, including their headquarters, tucked in Montco, it makes sense that they would be willing to put up their $100,000 contribution.

Late last month, Firstrust and the other donors that helped see the center’s construction through to its opening last November received recognition from the Police Chiefs’ Association of Montgomery County.

The center, which is on the grounds of the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, will train thousands of law enforcement officers, emergency medical service technicians and firefighters.

“There are so many great causes,” Abell said. “But these are things that we think fit our mission.”

It isn’t the only philanthropy in which the 74-year-old bank involves itself. Each year, it gives about $1 million to various causes, including a decade-long relationship with City Year, which unites young people throughout the country in one year of full-time service.

Still, this cause isn’t overshadowed. The money that Firstrust donated went to fund the construction of the center’s firing range, preparing law enforcement officers to use deadly force, if ever necessary.

“You wouldn’t want to be in the line of real fire and have it be the first time you’re going through that,” said Abell. “Fortunately I wasn’t the target. I was at the other end.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here.