Fairfield firefighters announce charitable foundation

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The Fairfield Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation presents a check to Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Nappi.

In the final days of 2012, Fairfield Fire Fighters Association President Bob Smith received notice from Connecticut’s Secretary of State recognizing the newly-formed Fairfield Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation, with nonprofit status pending from the IRS.

Fund-raising efforts will kick off on Thursday, Feb. 21, when the Fairfield, Norwalk and Stratford firefighters band together to host a second annual wine and beer tasting event at the Trumbull Marriott to benefit the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25, and may be obtained by emailing [email protected] or contacting the Fairfield Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation on Facebook.

The Fairfield Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation started off the new year by donating to three charitable causes on Jan. 12th.

“It’s a great day for us because we get to see results of many long, hard hours of work that our members put in to help raise this money for these great groups,” said Joe Rainis, foundation treasurer, at the ceremony,

The first check for $1,455 was presented to the “Get in Touch Foundation,” a local organization that helps young woman understand why early detection of breast cancer is important. The group’s founder, Mary Ann Wasil Nilan, was on hand to explain more about her foundation and the work that they do for the community.

According to Nilan, the mission of the Get In Touch Foundation is “to encourage girls of all ages to get in touch with their bodies, informationand each other in our crusade against breast cancer.” Its cornerstone initiative is The Get In Touch Girls’ Program & Daisy Wheel breast health initiative, which teaches girls in fifth through 12th grades the importance of, and how to do, a breast self-exam and is available to schools at no cost. Money for the donation was raised through the sale of pink T-shirts, which firefighters wore on duty during October’s breast cancer awareness program.

The FFFCF’s second check for $4,500 was presented to Jeremy Nappi of the Muscular Dystrophy Association one of Local 1426’s long time charities.

“The IAFF and Local 1426 have been long time supporters of the work that MDA does and we’re very proud to continue on with that tradition,” said Chris Tracy, foundation secretary.

Local 1426, the Fairfield Fire Fighters Association, has been an active participant in the IAFF’s nationally recognized “Fill the Boot” fund-raising program since their organization in 1962. The International Association of Fire Fighters is the largest national sponsor of MDA, raising funds for the non-profit health agency which is “dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases” through the efforts of its members.

The final check of the day for $4,500 was presented to the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation President Steve Jakab for the Connecticut Burn Center. The facility recently completed a $1.5 million modernization “to create a private, comfortable and functional environment for patients and families,” including an overnight suite for families, redesigned patient rooms for greater privacy and comfort and a renovated rehabilitation room and specially equipped shower room. The Fairfield Fire Fighters Association has donated more than $15,000 to the burn center over the last two years as the Center completes a total remodel to update it to a state of the art facility.

“Renovating the Connecticut Burn Center became very personal to Local 1426 when one of our own had to be treat there last year for burns he received fighting a string of arson fires in our town,” Phil Higgins, one of the foundation’s directors, told the crowd. “We’re happy to be able to pay it forward and make this center a place where the best care is given to the victims who need it.”

Money for the MDA and Burn Center donations were raised by the Local’s annual Santa Express Ride, according to Smith, president of Local 1426. The ride heads out in early December delivering presents with Santa each year to help raise money for these and other charities.

“We are very pleased to be able to present these checks today, the first three of our brand new Foundation,” Smith said. “We hope this is the beginning of many more to come.”

In all, checks totaling more than $10,000 were presented at Fairfield’s Fire Station Two, a “great start” for the new Fairfield Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation, according to its board. Those wishing to make donations to the foundation are asked to send checks to the FFFCF, 600 Jennings Road, Fairfield CT 06824. For more information on the organization and the charities it supports, visit its Facebook page or iaff1426.org.

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