LACONIA — Irwin Ford Lincoln is offering as much as $500 in bonus cash toward the purchase or lease of any eligible new Ford vehicle by police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, through Ford's First Responders Appreciation Program.

To be eligible, customers must be a police officer, sheriff or sheriff's deputy, state trooper,correctional officer, federal law enforcement officer, career firefighter,volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic.

Those eligible must register through www.fordspecialoffer.com/firstresponders to get online validation of first-responder eligibility. Once verified, applicants will receive a certificate number that will be used to claim the program.

Anyone with questions or issues with registering can turn to the friendly staff at the Irwin Automotive Group for help.

The program recognizes that first responders put in long hours on their shifts, risking harm to save lives. They then wait diligently for the next call.

"The work that first responders do day-in and day-out is truly honorable and appreciated," the company said in a press release announcing the program. "After their long days, they should be able to relax and unwind on their drive home, and Irwin Ford is here to help."

To learn more about the First Responders Appreciation Program or to schedule a test drive, stop by Irwin Ford Lincoln on Bisson Avenue, Laconia.

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