Over $1,000 Raised for Local Firefighters and Police

posted Nov 21, 2014, 7:54 AM by DECA Atlanta   [ updated Nov 21, 2014, 7:57 AM ]
Area Neighbors Rally Together in Fundraising Effort to Show Thanks: 
Over $1,000 Raised for Local Firefighters and Police for Thanksgiving
by Todd Price

Spending time with friends and family over the holiday season is something many of us enjoy. But some civil servants, like the firefighters and police officers serving our neighborhoods, sacrifice this time so that we can be protected.

Popping a turkey in a deep fryer might be fun and ultimately delicious. But if you don't know what you are doing it could lead to disaster. National data collected between 2009-11 indicates residential building fires were almost twice as high on Thanksgiving Day as other days throughout the year – with 72% being related to cooking.* And when cooking disasters lead to emergencies, the DeKalb Fire Department ensures their firefighters are prepared to help, rain or shine: Thanksgiving Day, Chanukah, Christmas, New Years Day, and beyond. There are four stations that cover the DECA area, including Station 2 on Dresden Drive, Station 8 on Clairmont Road, Station 15 at PDK Airport, and Station 19 at Mercer University.

Since they would not be at home with family and friends on Thanksgiving, one neighbor, Charlotte-ann Rogers of Wakefield Forest, decided she would head up a small fundraising effort to buy a Thanksgiving meal for the firefighting team at Station 2. What started as a chat between her and a couple of other neighbors snowballed into an area-wide effort which encompassed the four stations, as well as our police officers from Chamblee and Doraville too, since they backup Chamblee PD in case of any significant event. All in all, after publishing the fundraiser on DECA's Facebook page, creating a GoFundMe website, engaging other Chamblee neighborhoods including Clairmont Terrace and Huntley Hills, over $1,000 was raised, the bulk of it in about three days.

Many of us in our communities have deep personal connections with these firefighters, with some firefighter and police officer families living in DECA neighborhoods. Charlotte-ann had an uncle who worked in a fire department years ago. Julie Erwin of Wakefield Forest donated, saying, “This is important to me. My brother almost died in a fire, and the firefighters from Station 8 on Clairmont Road saved his life.”

Sometimes it is those deep personal connections that draw people to fighting fires as well. Brian Delano is a firefighter working out of Station 19 at Mercer University after nearly 6 years in the DeKalb Fire Department. Brian's Uncle Ben was a firefighter in Jackson, Michigan. Brian spent time around his uncle's fire station, seeing the lifestyle, the camaraderie between the firefighters, and it inspired him. “It might be cliché,” he said, “but helping people, protecting them, that draws me to the job as well.” The Mercer Station specializes in Hazmat response, helping to train neighboring county fire departments. They were also involved in the safe transport of recent Ebola patients from PDK Airport to Emory University Hospital.

Dekalb FD it is where he met his wife, too. For a short time, both he and his wife Caitlyn worked as firefighters. Now she works at home managing their precocious one-year-old son William.

And just as civil servants do, Brian worked with the rest of the team at Station 19 on Thanksgiving Day, while his wife and son were at home. Organizers hoped the donations raised by our neighborhoods to provide a warm Thanksgiving meal helped him and the other firefighters and police officers working through the holiday get by a little more easily while they were away from their family and friends.

And that was the point of the fundraiser. “We did it because it was a nice thing to do,” said Charlotte-ann. “It's what we wrote on the card we left with the food: During this time of Thanksgiving, we as a community are thankful for you.”

If you would like to join Charlotte-ann's “Firefighters Save Lives” Facebook Group, you can do so here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1530679960508986/

*National Fire Institute Reporting System 5.0, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/snapshot_thanksgiving.pdf
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