Hose company donates toys to Hurricane Sandy victims
Members of Ligonier Volunteer Hose Co. 1 have been collecting toys since late November to donate to the families of New York firefighters affected by Hurricane Sandy.
After the storm, Ligonier's hose company Chief Paul Church contacted some friends at the New York Fire Department's Rescue 2 fire house in Brooklyn to offer help.
Church said he met Liam Flaherty, a 20-year firefighter who is also the drum major of the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, when the group came to Ligonier several yeares ago to march in the Fort Ligonier Days parade.
Church said Flaherty asked if residents of the Ligonier Valley would be willing to donate toys for the “FDNY Kids 2012 Toy Drive After Sandy” event the group was conducting.
“A lot of people stepped up, just to make it happen and a whole lot of people stepped up to bring in the toys,” Church said. “It was certainly a community effort. It says a lot about this community for a little town like this to be sending that amount of stuff to a big city like New York. It also shows the respect to the fire service too, which is good. The value of the toys, I don't really know. It doesn't matter. The value is that people are giving. That's where the real value is.”
Church estimated between 500 and 600 new toys were donated, along with more than $500 in gift cards. He said it was all he could do to fit everything into his pickup truck.
Church traveled the five-hour trip to Manhattan Sunday with Rescue Captain Chris Tantlinger and Lynne Weaver. They delivered the truckload of gifts to the FDNY Fire Museum where a room was made available to receive the toys for the fundraiser.
Weaver took photographs of the project and trip, which are available on the company's website at www.ligonierfire.com.
“We met Liam and his sister, Maureen Flahery, at the museum,” said Church. “We doubled what they already had collected, at the time. They were really overwhelmed at the amount of response we got from the Ligonier Valley Community.”
The toys will be distributed to the families at an event at the museum on Saturday. The Pipes and Drums group will perform at the event.
Most of the donations were made anonymously, Church said, though he mentioned an envelope with gift cards, which came from Ligonier residents who spend their winters in Arizona, showing the far reach of the toy drive.
Debbie Campayno, a second alarmer for the fire company and owner of La Spa Ligonier, also used her space to house gifts before they were loaded onto Church's truck. Campayno said she was very pleased with the response from residents in the Valley.
“At this time of year there are so many drives, so with one more added I wasn't sure how everybody would respond, but everybody stepped up,” Campayno said. “The key was the community support. It's all about community. The best thing is helping one another. When there is a need, you just help one another. There is no greater satisfaction than helping someone that is in need, no matter what.”
Church said he was very glad that his New York friends reached out to the Ligonier Valley, and he was happy to be able to help in their time of need.
“You know that they need help. That's what the brotherhood is all about; the fire service is a brother and sisterhood where we will do anything for each other,” Church said.
Peter Turcik is a freelance 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.
- Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center dedicates outdoor center
- Laurel Valley’s Kids Korner provides clothing for families in need
- Santa Claus is coming to Ligonier
- Valley Youth Network celebrates 20 years
- Ligonier merchants celebrate 40 years in business
- Likely no tax hike for Ligonier Township
- Grassroots organization promotes hunting to boost state economy
- Ligonier Township planners begin review of revised ordinance
- Woodbridge Preschool upgrades classrooms with new technology