Ohio firefighters bring warmth to children

Two firefighters from the Norwalk Fire Department personally assisted each child in finding a new coat and even helped ensure they got the proper size as part of Firefighters for Operation Warm


Norwalk Reflector, Ohio

Firefighters stopped at Maplehurst, Pleasant and League elementary schools Friday to give students new coats from Operation Warm.

Ben Luxon and Michael Frado from the Norwalk Fire Department personally assisted each child in finding a new coat and even helped ensure they got the proper size as part of Firefighters for Operation Warm.

Norwalk Firefighters Association Local 1199 teamed up with Operation Warm to provide brand new coats to elementary students in need on Friday.

“Operation Warm is in conjunction with our union, we come together to buy coats and give them to young kids in need that live in the area,” Luxon said.

Operation Warm is a nationally active non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of children living in need through the gift of new winter coats.

The difference between operation warm and a coat drive is that instead of collecting used coats, they manufacture the coats themselves with the assistance of financial donations.

By making the coats themselves, the non-profit is able to control the manufacturing to provide a high-quality product at a low cost — they then distribute the coats to children who typically attend a school where there is 40 percent or more of the students that are at, or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

The Firefighters for Operation Warm is a joint project between local firefighters and the non-profit — Operation Warm makes coats available to the department at low costs to the department.

Norwalk’s Operation Warm program receives no money from the city — funds are raised through the various fundraisers that the department puts on throughout the year.

Participating and assisting with projects like Operation Warm is a big reason why many decided to join the fire department.

“For me, coming from the city of Norwalk, it feels great to be able to give back to my community,” Frado said. “We do that every day with the job, but this is something a little extra that we do. It just feels really good to be able to help others.”

All of the children were really appreciative of getting the coats. Some asked if they had to return them, or if they could bring them home from school.

“Yeah it just feels good,” Luxon said. “I mean, we became firemen to help people and guys come in off duty and aren’t getting paid. It is just another level of service that we get to provide.... and it is for the kids too and nothing matters more than that.”

Operation Warm has impacted the lives of 2,000,000 kids since 1998. At least 22 percent of children live below the poverty line and are desperately in need of a well-fitted warm coat during the wintertime.

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©2019 the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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