How a Marshfield couple is helping first responders
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD – Its business model is unique, but The Outdoor Kind, LLC has a mission in mind – to sell apparel and other products online in order to support first responders in rural and wilderness areas, and to educate outdoor enthusiasts on safety and prevention.
Founded by Marshfield couple, Jan and John Van Barriger, the company is designed to assist public service providers in an uncommon way.
“This is about giving back, and helping the people who help us,” said Jan. “I know that wherever my husband and I go, there’s a first responder somewhere nearby who has us covered, even when we’re camping in the middle of nowhere. We started this company to help support what they do and to, hopefully, prevent some emergencies in the first place.”
“It seems like almost every rural fire department in the country hosts pancake breakfasts or spaghetti dinners to help raise additional funds,” added John. “We’re hoping that we can provide some relief there, and also help reduce the number of emergencies they have to cover. So we also focus on making outdoor activities safer, whether it’s canoeing and kayaking or hiking and bicycling. We enjoy most outdoor activities ourselves, and want to help make every outdoor recreational sport as safe and enjoyable as possible.”
The concept for The Outdoor Kind, LLC, was literally born in fire. Several years ago, John was kayaking a 500-mile stretch of the Yukon River with a friend, when they paddled into the Carmacks fires in the Yukon Territory. The three fires burned approximately 47,000 acres near the small crossroads town.
“It was an intense event,” Van Barriger said. “Watching a huge wildfire burn downhill to the river, as you’re paddling by is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. We were fortunate, though, as search-and-rescue groups started taking paddlers off the Yukon shortly after we went through. The fire jumped the river there, so if we had gotten a later start that day, we might not have been so lucky.
“Watching all of that occur in the Yukon made me realize how lucky all of us are to have these courageous first responders on the job.”
The couple has launched the outdoor gear company for enthusiast. The apparel and product designs feature different North American animals enjoying an outdoor recreational activity, from kayaking bears to hiking whitetail deer.
For more on the company, visit theoutdoorkind.com.