On Wednesday afternoon, Garnet Hathaway found himself in a peculiar situation at Arlington County Fire Station No. 3 wearing full bomb squad gear.
Why you ask? It's part of his player program. Enter Hath's Heroes, which, has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
The program's origins stem from his great grandfather, whom Garnet is named after. He was a firefighter in Winnipeg and is the inspiration behind the creation of Hath's Heroes.
"Through all the stories I've heard and how brave he was and how good of a family man he was, it's someone that I've always idolized," Hathaway said. "Knowing that he was a firefighter, it means a lot to meet guys that are doing the same thing that he was."
For his program, he provides tickets to Capitals games to local first responders, meets the ticket recipients and gives them a tour of the Capitals locker room postgame.
One Arlington County Fire Captain, Ryan Leischner, had the opportunity to partake in this experience and meet Garnet and bring his son along.
"The experience was second to none," Leischner said. "Garnet was such a genuine guy and for him to take the time he did with us shows what kind of person he is."
In addition to donating tickets, Hathaway visits local fire and police stations throughout the season and spends time with the first responders eating lunch and getting tours around the stations.
"As a firefighter in Arlington, home of the Caps, it means a lot Garnet has taken the time to reach out to our department and the surrounding jurisdictions," said Leischner.
During the visit to station No. 3 mentioned above, he did a lot more than just eat and chat with the firemen.
Hathaway slid down the fire pole (with some instruction first of course), toured the engine bay and even put on the full bomb squad gear and learned how their bomb robot works.
After that, the firemen took him around the truck showing him all the tools they use including the "jaws of life", a hydraulic rescue tool used by rescue to assist in the extraction of victims in crashes.
Joining Hathaway at the fire station were service dogs in-training Captain and Scout who one day, may help a first responder in need.
As professional hockey players, they are used to people coming to their place of employment and watching them make a living, but in this instance, Garnet is returning the favor to these local first responders and that gesture is not lost on them.
"We are kind of the unspoken heroes, we don't expect the recognition because it's just something that we do," Justin Scott, another Arlington Country Fire Department Chief, said. "It's nice to have the recognition, they want to see what do just as we like to see what they do."
Hathaway enjoys the experiences just as much as the local first responders and is thrilled he has been able to launch his program so quickly and efficiently with the help of the Capitals community relations team.
"Fortunately I'm in a situation where I can give back and a lot of the first responders here are Caps fans," said Hathaway, "It's platform that I think will go a long way and is appreciated by these guys because everything they do, the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, to me this it seems like a great way to say 'thank you'."