Firemen help brethren in Dominican Republic
Western Pennsylvania area volunteer fire departments have joined together to help less fortunate departments in the Dominican Republic continue to make a difference.
What began several years ago as a program though the Rotary Club of Somerset has grown into a movement, with local fire departments donating equipment to the Dominican Republic's efforts. Participating counties include Allegheny, Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland.
“We took trips there and identified they needed equipment,” said Ron Albom, district governor for Rotary District 7330. “They had nothing. They use garden hoses ... garden gloves. There's a huge need there.”
When attorney Kim Houser, an assistant chief in the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department, got involved, he took a trip last winter to the capital city of Santo Domingo to see for himself.
He toured the island and visited every fire station. What he found was poor equipment, nonexistent fire hydrants, a radio system that was patchwork at best and a communication system based on cellphones.
“The caliber and temperament of the fire service in the Dominican (Republic) is the same,” he said. “They're truly lions. As a fellow firefighter, I'm so proud of what they do with what little they have.”
When Houser returned, Rotary members began asking fire departments for extra equipment.
They have been collecting donations since mid-June. Albom said he has a warehouse filled to the brim with equipment, and now the challenge is finding a way to ship it.
“The fire service stepping up to the plate in Western Pennsylvania has really been amazing,” Houser said.
Chief Lloyd Crago of the Youngwood Volunteer Fire Department said he has donated 1,000 feet of four-inch hoses, adapters, nozzles, bumper-gear coats and pants and radios.
He said that instead of having the equipment sit for 10 years, he is thrilled to donate it to those who need it.
“We always check around locally to see who might be in need of something,” he said. “But it seems the biggest need right now is to send it out of the country.”
Houser said the Monroeville Fire Expo will have a program in February to collect donated fire gear.
“There has been great community support for this program,” Houser said. “Everyone is pitching in and taking a small piece of it.”
Michele Stewardson is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dogs rule at WCCC’s Canine Week
- Hempfield church marks anniversary of unique building
- Youngwood playground blossoms
- Greensburg Salem student takes national platform