Eric Fuehrer’s favorite hobby was umpiring as a volunteer so he could spend more time with his twin boys. Eric’s favorite indulgence at home was taking a relaxing bath. Cancer robbed him of both, until one company stepped in to fix the latter. Safe Step Tubs, based in Nashville, heard about Eric’s story – that he couldn’t maneuver in a standard tub safely — and decided to award him with a life-changing walk-in tub at no charge. So, in a secret kept by family and friends for months, Eric was lured to a softball tournament after being told his boys were playing. They weren’t. Unable to walk long distances, he was escorted by a utility vehicle to home plate as hundreds looked on. And sitting behind home plate – his place of joy – was a large box gift-wrapped with a bow and including a card. Well, the secret didn’t last much longer, as representatives from the company read a letter from its president. And then they proceeded to unveil his new walk-in tub, which the company will also install at no cost. Safe Steps philanthropy, Safe Step Cares, has awarded 50 tubs in five years by finding those deserving of a tub but who cannot afford one; in Eric’s case, mounting medical bills. In addition to being a husband, Eric was a former New York police officer, community volunteer and Cub Scout leader.
He lives with chronic pain and his doctor recommended a walk-in tub. His sister-in-law had heard about Safe Step Cares through her neighbor and nominated Eric. The company considers 100 nominations a month before narrowing it down to 3-5. It then asks its team members to decide who receives the tub. Eric won the company vote and the gift of a lifetime and with its help, hopes to beat cancer and return to umpiring behind home plate, where his gift once sat.