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MORGANTOWN – Every day members of the Morgantown Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 313 risk their lives to protect the City and its residents from the devastation of fire. What goes unseen are the many other ways that these firefighters serve their community and help those in need.
For the past three years, the Morgantown Firefighters IAFF Local 313 has participated in the Operation Warm program. Through this national program, the firefighters provide brand new winter coats to children in need. In November, the Local 313 was able to give out coats to 124 children in Kindergarten and 1st grade at four local schools. All the coats are made in the U.S. and are purchased with local monetary donations. The 124 coats distributed this year mark the most the Morgantown Firefighters have given out since joining the program.
“It's very rewarding to see a kids face when you put a brand new coat on them, write their name in it, and they get to take it home as their very own," said Jayson Nicewarner, president of the Morgantown Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 313.
For the past 30 years, the Morgantown Firefighters Local 313 have participated in the Monongalia County Head Start Christmas Program. The Local 313 works with the Monongalia County Head Start staff to identify families that are interested in attending the event. The
firefighters then send out invitations to the families. At the event, the families are served pizza, refreshments, and dessert. Following the meal, any child between the ages of 2-10 receives a gift from Santa Claus. This year’s program will take place December 2 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Suncrest Middle School Cafeteria.
The Local 313 has also established the Vanden King Memorial Scholarship fund in memory of Fireman First Class Vanden King who was killed in a tragic vehicle accident in 2016. The annual$1,000 scholarship is awarded to a Morgantown High School student who is pursuing an education in a field that will help serve others such as fire sciences, health sciences, education, and law enforcement.
"As professional firefighters, most people get to see us and meet us on one of the worst days of their lives,” said Nicewarner. “Getting involved with the community and local kids gives us the chance to make a difference away from the job.”
These charitable services are only available because of the support from the local community through monetary donations. Any individual, organization, or business can make a tax-deductible contribution to the fund. If you are interested in learning more or donating to one of these initiatives, please contact Jayson Nicewarner at firstname.lastname@example.org.