Community spirit goes international with Ukrainian firefighters’ equipment drive in Middletown this weekend.
Organized by the South Fire District of Middletown and co-sponsored by six organizations, the goal is to collect firefighting equipment and medical supplies in Connecticut to send to Ukraine to help firefighters fight on the front lines.
“I could see the buildings in the background burning and bombing and I knew the firefighters were stressed and that’s exactly why I wanted to organize the supply drive,” said Gary Wallace, director of Community Health Center Inc.
Wallace, a campaign sponsor, said the idea was born during an online community meeting discussing creative ways the community could help.
“As a veteran, I just have knowledge and experience of what’s going on with trauma and retirement and things like that, so I contacted the Southern District Fire Department” , Wallace said.
And the district answered the call.
Chief Trzaki describes the packages that have flocked and said that there are still items that are needed.
“They have dropped off goods and equipment, firefighting equipment – hand tools, personal protective equipment including helmets and boots and first aid supplies. We need first aid supplies We need durable first aid supplies, trauma bandages, needles, syringes for the front line,” said Southern District Fire Department Chief Jim Trzaski.
Items collected include painkillers, backpacks, bandages, first aid kits, medical gloves, antibiotic ointments, water-gel burn aids, compression bandages, medical tape, eyewash stations, CPR masks and safety glasses.
Dr. Katja Kolcio is a Wesleyan University professor who is not only a sponsor, but has been doing humanitarian work in Ukraine for almost 10 years. She said the items collected during the collection will make a difference.
“Equipment, bodyboards, fire protection equipment, medical supplies, they are just not available in Ukraine or surrounding countries anymore. I think that is what they need more than anything There is not a single place in Ukraine that is safe. They need these supplies more than anything,” Kolcio said.
Trzaski had a message for firefighters in Ukraine.
“We just hope this helps in the least bit and our hearts go out to you and you are the bravest firefighters we have ever seen,” Trzaski said.
The campaign will continue Sunday, April 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Southern District Fire Department.