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Founder of local nonprofit The Furniture Project receives surprise community hero award

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jul 10, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Furniture Project was founded by Omaha firefighter, Drew Gerken. Now - He's being recognized for all that he and the organization has done to help others over the last decade.

  • The nonprofit helps thousands complete their homes with gently used free furniture they deliver.
  • Baxter Subaru surprised Gerken with its Inaugural Community Hero Award.
  • Many coworkers, friends and colleagues were at the nonprofit's warehouse for the surprise.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

In the aftermath of disaster neighbors are helping neighbors rebuild not only their homes, but their lives. And one man is being recognized for all that he's done for tornado survivors and beyond. Baxter Subaru surprised Drew Gerken with its inaugural community hero award. He is an Omaha firefighter and founder of the local nonprofit, The Furniture Project.

Because of what Gerken has started, families experiencing hardships can have one less thing to worry about.

In the last decade, the nonprofit has shifted from a small volunteer-run organization to a program with three moving trucks and a big warehouse.

"To see Drew go from a 2002 Honda pilot that he'd put in an entire apartment on top, to having a full-time warehouse with a full staff, I mean, it's a beautiful transformation,” said Logan Field, Gerken’s son.

The Furniture Project helps thousands complete their homes with gently used free furniture they deliver.

"I'm proud when I think about the individuals and the families who have been touched by this work, who are not sleeping on the floor today, who literally were on the floor last night,” said Gerken.

Wednesday - Baxter Subaru surprised Gerken with its inaugural Community Hero Award and donating a new truck to help support the nonprofit's growth.

"Drew is the type of person who, when he sees an issue, he's, he's going to do all that he can to fix it,” said Matt Hoppe, executive director of The Furniture Project.

"His work ethic is beyond anything I've ever seen; I've watched him lift couches by himself and like hip shove them into a van. He's just amazing and he does this all because he just loves his community. He loves people,” said Mike Bennett, general manager of Baxter Subaru.

"I really don't feel like I can accept all the, all the accolades. However, I am so overwhelmingly grateful for all of the support,” said Gerken.

It takes a village and Gerken says he's built one of support and love.

For Gerken, it's always been about helping neighbors and he encourages others if you can use your gifts to do the same.