Allen Janzen has witnessed the creativity of firefighters. The walls of Los Angeles’ firehouses are filled with artwork and he wants to bring attention to that.
Firefighter Crafted Promotes Firefighters’ Crafted Artwork
About a year ago, Janzen founded Firefighter Crafted, a website that has a four-pronged cause. It promotes firefighters’ crafted artwork and designs; heightens awareness of local fire station apparel and gifts; donates a portion of the proceeds to firefighter charities like Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund; and networks firefighters’ crafted designs.
“It’s a website where myself and other firefighters or other fire stations can put their products and sell them to anybody in the public to help raise money for the fire station or another cause,” says the firefighter/paramedic at LAFD Station 102 near North Hollywood, California.
Benefiting our Los Angeles Firefighter Charity
“I looked into the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund and it most aligned with my mission to help firefighters and their families in their time of need.”
Janzen sells T-shirts ($20) and masks ($8) through the website.
“I worked with a guy who digitized my ideas and that’s on the T-shirts,” he says. “Someone else—another firefighter—embroidered masks and I also have an embroidered patch. Those are the main products.”
“As the site continues, I may come out with other products and different apparel. I’d like to include paintings in there. Different stations can put their products on there as well.”
Janzen can confidently say he’s wanted to be a firefighter since he was 10 years old, when his brother-in-law took him to Fire Station 88 for Fire Service Day.
“That sparked my interest at age 10,” he says. “At 14, I joined the Explorer program and did that for about seven years. Straight out of high school, I went to EMT school and then paramedic school in 2010. That’s always been the trajectory. It took me nine years to get on with the Los Angeles Fire Department. This is the career I wanted.”
Janzen is a longtime artist as well. It’s a hobby he enjoys with his wife, Anna, whom he married seven years ago.
“My wife, she paints a lot,” he says. “When I asked her to marry me, we were painting a scene at a lighthouse. Since then, we’ve done on-site paintings of our honeymoon and vacation spots. It’s a fun thing we’ve done together.”
Raising Awareness of Local Fire Stations
He’s been impressed with the projects he’s seen by LAFD firefighters. On the website, he’ll link to fire stations’ Instagram or other social media outlets to help promote the departments and incidents.
“If you go into fire stations all throughout the city, you’ll see people have made things out of retired fire hose or they’ve painted things, or made cabinets out of wood,” he says. “Some guys do metal work and laser engraving. I wanted to meet these people who do their art. If there’s a way I can help display what they’re doing, then this pays off.”
Allen also set up a fundraising page on our L.A. firefighter charity’s official GoFundMe page and is incorporating it into his web site as well as sharing it with everyone he can to raise awareness of the mission and help generate donations. And, he donated to the online auction.
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski