Tacoma Fire Fighters Supporting Troops in Iraq
September 30 2005 - Tacoma, WA Local 31 fire fighters are participating in the “Hero to Hero” program to support troops deployed overseas. As part of the program, fire fighters and police personnel literally take “the shirts off their backs,” sign them with messages of support and send them to men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s a great program,” says Local 31 President Pat McElligott. “It lets our troops know that we care about them. This is a military town and there is a lot of interaction with troops, so it’s an honor for us to be a part of a program that boosts the morale of our troops overseas.”
Hero to Hero was launched after September 11, 2003. Hero to Hero Program Director, Air Force veteran and a military mom Liz Jackson says, “This program helps us honor fire fighters and lift the spirits of troops.”
Tacoma, WA Local 31 Commander of Honor Guard and a military mom Karen Leming has been intensely involved with the program. Leming and Jackson received a positive response and encouragement from IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger for Hero to Hero when they met at the 2005 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial observance in Colorado Springs, Colorado earlier this month.
About 800 shirts were sent to units deployed overseas in just eight weeks in 2003, and in 2004, 3,500 shirts were mailed. In addition, the Hero to Hero program donated 800 shirts to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital last year. This year, Jackson and Leming have already received requests from troops for more than 3,500 shirts. The Hero To Hero program will do a month long road trip of 55 cities across the United States to collect shirts from fire stations and police personnel.
For more information, visit www.HeroToHero.us .
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