Sometimes we feel like we can never do enough. This week was one of those times for me. I was in Texas at an industrial firefighting school (A post on that will follow.), and I tried to stay informed of the weather. Back here in Tennessee, we were predicted to receive a significant amount of snow, that has yet to arrive. We had great weather in Texas, so I kept up to date on the weather and conditions via Facebook and The Weather Channel.
I have not written much on the blog about the National Firefighters Endowment. I want to inform everyone of what exactly the NFE is (view their About Us link here), and how I came involved with them. Back in 2011, I made a donation to a fundraiser for fire departments in North Carolina called Brotherhood Cuts. The concept was similar to the St. Baldrick's fundraiser in that firefighters raise money to shave their heads to support a great cause. The cause in this fundraiser was to raise money to purchase "bail-out" kits for multiple fire departments across the state of North Carolina. The fundraiser was organized by The Fire Critic and the NFE. Our donations were used to purchase quite a few "bail-out" kits for different departments, and it was money well spent. It felt good knowing that my money went to purchase equipment that could save firefighters lives!
Officer's Club. Essentially, the NFE launched the Officer's Club to assist with a steady income of donations. There are three different donor levels, Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief. The donation amounts are $10, $20, and $30 per month, and the donations are used to fund grants for departments that need equipment and gear. Each donor also receives a numbered limited edition challenge coin for the level, and it is based on a 1 year term. Also, another benefit is that they have monthly give-aways that members can win a variety of fire-service items. I won a pair of Black Diamond X2 turnout boots several months ago. I have climbed with them at two different 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs now, and you can read about the Nashville Climb here and the Charlotte Climb here. Since joining the Officer's Club, I have grown to meet other members and have become friends with our fearless leader and President of the NFE, Shane Parkins. I speak with Shane on a weekly basis, but look forward to actually meeting him in the near future. After listing all the benefits of being a member of the Officer's Club, the one that supersedes them all is just getting to help brothers and sisters across the nation. I have seen first hand my donation being put to work. I have seen first hand "bail-out" kits delivered to departments across North Carolina that had their needs met by the NFE. Click some of the links throughout the article and consider joining the Officer's Club. You don't have to be a firefighter, just someone willing to help. Help us make an even bigger difference.
Why do I mention all of this? The reason I felt the need to inform everyone about the NFE is that as I am sure most of you are aware, Hurricane Sandy caused so much devastation across the North East. Multiple first responder agencies were greatly effected by damage to emergency vehicles, equipment, and supplies used to respond to the emergency calls that continue to come in. Just because the weather has calmed, the every day calls for help still must get answered. Within the last few days, I am proud to say that the NFE has received a fire pumper to donate to a department effected by the storm, and has also received $125,000 of radio equipment to place in service in the area. This is a HUGE impact that the NFE is able to make, but it is only the beginning. The NFE has established a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund for the First Responders that need the assistance. Our President, Shane, and a few co-workers landed in New York this morning and are currently working to make a difference as I type this article. There is more to be done! Broad Channel VFD has an immediate need of airpacks, a loaner ambulance (stocked), and saws/hydraulic tools. Visit the link here and help out if you can. It is tax deductible and the NFE is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. If you are unable to give, maybe you can organize a Boot drive for your local fire department to assist, or maybe your department has some equipment or apparatus to donate. Visit http://www.thethinredline.org/relief-fund.html for additional information. Thanks for taking the time to read this article about a cause that means so much to me.