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Jersey Shore State Bank gives to first responders

In donating to local first responders, one local bank said its giving patterns are a mirror of a community who cares.

“We’re a giving bank, not because of what we say, but because of what we do,” said Richard A. Grafmyre, CEO of Penns Woods Bancorp Inc.

Across all branches the bank holding company donated more than $25,000 to first responders in six counties, with the Jersey Shore State Bank branches giving more than $19,000 of that sum.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for first responders and quite frankly, we believe that a lot of volunteers don’t get recognized,” he said.

The money was donated without any “strings attached” and those volunteer companies who received money were allowed to spend it however they see fit, said Grafmyre.

Although the companies, themselves, help with fundraisers for other benefits, some struggle with getting everything they need to do their jobs.

“Especially on the fire company side, many of them struggle to get the general and safety equipment they need,” said Grafmyre.

From September 2019 to the end of November 2019, The bank holding company donated $25 for every home equity loan to a first responding company of the customers’ choice

Grafmyre said the bank also supported other fundraising drives during that time, to include boot drives, where people put their donations into a fire boot and touch a truck drives.

“We made it very interactive with our branch system and I think the touch a truck event was really cool, people could bring their kids in to touch a fire truck or ambulance or whatever it might be,” he said.

It was by speaking with employees and customers that banking administrators decided to give money to first responders.

“We have a number of folks in our company that were first responders and family members who still are,” said Grafmyre. “I think it was a community need we saw and decided that we could support them.”

The community that surrounds the Jersey Shore State Bank and works within its halls define how the bank gives, he said.

“We are a community bank and the fabric of our community is the same as our fabric culturally, these kinds of things are easy for us to do,” he said.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic stopped immediate plans for more donations, there are more plans for charity work, said Grafmyre.

“It’s not the last time we run a program similar to that and we hope that the next program we can find a way to stimulate even more customer interaction from it,” he said. “The more our customer base understands the support we have, the more they’ll support them too.”

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