The Firefighters Fund, local restaurants, and resident volunteers join forces to honor first responders on the eighth anniversary of 9/11.
“It is important to, in some small way, pay tribute to the firefighters who risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of every community and every American,” said Jessica Locke, director of The Firefighters Fund and a Watertown resident. “More than one hundred of these brave men and women die in the line of duty each year. We must always remember the sacrifices they make, and never take their service for granted.”
Ms. Locke approached local restaurants, asking them to donate meals to their local firefighters on September 11th. Many local community residents joined in the effort and also contacted restaurants and pledged to help deliver the meals to the firehouses.
This year, twenty-three firehouses will be served, with firefighters enjoying special meals provided by restaurants including: Cabot’s in Newton; The Stockyard in Brighton: Il Casale, Conley’s Pub and Grille, and TCBY from Belmont; Porcini’s, Stellina, and Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown; Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse, Sadie’s Saloon and Eatery, The Chateau, John Brewers’ Tavern, Watch City Brewery, and The Skellig for Waltham stations; and Outback Steakhouse in Bellingham. In addition, a group of residents from Newton are cooking the dinners for six firehouses in their community.
“The response from the community was overwhelming. Each restaurant contacted gave an immediate ‘yes’ to our request,” Locke continued. “I know it will mean a great deal to these firefighters to know that people are thinking about them on this historic day.”
Ms. Locke created The Firefighters Fund in 2006 to offer alternative healthcare to firefighters suffering from the emotional and physical consequences of working at Ground Zero. She has provided Alexander Technique sessions to first responders in New York City since 9/11, and more recently started a program in Newton. For several years, Ms. Locke has also worked closely with the Newton Fire Department to educate local residents about aging and unsafe equipment, substandard living conditions and other problems affecting the health and safety of the Newton firefighters and the community.
“People don’t know how difficult this job is; the stress these men and women are under, and the challenges they face on a daily basis. We need to let them know they are appreciated,” said Locke.
The Firefighters Fund hopes that an annual Firefighter Appreciation Day will be created to promote the message that the safety of each community is dependent on the dedication of its first responders, and that they should be valued – and thanked – for their service..
Ms. Locke concludes: “They are there for us 24/7. We need to be there for them as well.”