Senior citizens who reside within the Garden House of Maywood enjoy a meal provided by the Maywood Firefighters Union on Dec. 15. | Michael Romain/VFP
Sunday, December 18, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
A small fleet of fire trucks and ambulances could be seen parked outside of the Garden House of Maywood, 515 S. 5th Ave., on Thursday afternoon, but the emergency vehicles weren’t there to take anyone to the hospital.
They were there to drop off loads of food and some holiday fun for the residents who live in the senior housing facility, many of whom, like 76-year-old James J. Parker, have come to anticipate the annual meal that’s sponsored by the Maywood Firefighters Union.
“They put on a great dinner every year,” Parker said. “I look forward to it. They put on one of the best dinners and I come every year. It’s great because it lets us know that they’re thinking about us. They appreciate us being in the community and we appreciate them being in the community.”
“As emergency responders, often our interaction with the seniors there aren’t under the best of circumstances and we felt this would be a great way to give back and interact in a more positive situation,” said Kevin Kehoe, the union’s president.
According to Daniel McDowell, the union vice president, the meal at the Garden House is just one of several major holiday community events that the emergency responders put on each year. They also host holiday events at the Maywood Pheonix Homes, 401 Green St., which is another senior living facility, and at Proviso Area for Exceptional Children (PAEC).
In addition, they conduct an annual toy drive in collaboration with District 89, which identifies families of students in need so that firefighters can surprise the children with gifts on Christmas Eve.
McDowell said that the union hosts fundraisers each year, such as an annual golf outing, in order to pay for the holiday events.
“This year, we weren’t able to get the gold outing off the ground,” McDowell said, adding that the inconvenience, however, couldn’t deter them from continuing the holiday cheer. “All the firemen are chipping in and we’re taking donations from our members.”
Pictured above left: James Lewis, Hazel Haney and Augusta Murphy
Briefly: FEMA grant funds new radio equipment for firefighters
Recently, the Maywood Fire Department received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Assistance to Firefighters Grant Fund) that allowed the department to acquire new radio communications equipment.
“Being able to take advantage of this grant also meant saving money in the village’s budget,” said Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh. “The radio communications equipment is expected to be in service by in mid-December.”
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