Generous donors give supplies to Detroit firefighters - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Generous donors give supplies to Detroit firefighters

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By Ron Savage
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- It was shocking -- the men and women who put their lives on the line fighting fires in Detroit having to beg the public for supplies.  Since then, there has been an outpouring of generosity.

"I don't know that anybody's ever had to negotiate with their employer to get toilet paper," Detroit Fire Union President Dan McNamara told us on November 23.

He described a sorry situation for Fox 2.  Detroit firefighters returning from fighting fires and finding their fire houses out of basic supplies, including toilet paper, hand soap, soap to wash their rigs and light bulbs.  These men and women would stop off at the store and pick the items up using their own money until our generous viewers stepped up big time.

"It's overwhelming.  It's humbling.  It's incredible the response.  I got a call today from Alaska.  I mean, this has gone viral.  It's gone across the country.  It's gone across the world," McNamara said.

Supplies have come pouring in.  Some have been delivered to fire headquarters and some to Detroit fire station houses.

"After the news aired, civilians, people in the city, outside the city, were dropping off all kinds of donations at headquarters.  They didn't know what to do with it, and so they're dropping them off and they were taking them inside.  Then it escalated and people started showing up at fire houses.  We've had schools adopt fire houses," McNamara explained.

Catherine Govan directs the nonprofit Detroit Public Safety Foundation.  It's the charity arm Mayor Dave Bing started.  It's designed to funnel help to police, fire and EMS.

"Amazing how the community has just come together, but how could you not want to help a fireman, right?  Everybody likes the fireman down the street," she said.

Detroit Public Safety Foundation is overseeing the donations to get them distributed and they're still hearing from people and companies who are pitching in.

"We got a phone call from the folks at Procter and Gamble and Charmin is sending us an entire truckload of toilet paper, so I think we're going to be in good shape, and they said that whatever we had left over they wanted us to donate to the schools.  So this is really good stuff," said Govan.

The mayor's office told us the supply shortage was created by an ordering glitch.  They're correcting the problem and the mayor is appreciative of all donations.

"From every man and woman on this fire department, thank you very much.  We try to do our jobs quietly and it's kind of uncomfortable for us, but we really can't believe the love and support that we've been given," McNamara said.

For more information on the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, visit www.detroitpublicsafetyfoundation.org.

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