Seven firefighters from Beacon Falls and Seymour were welcomed back home after a 4,000-mile round trip to Texas to deliver donations.
Last week, there was a huge and generous outpouring of support from all across Connecticut.
The firefighters delivered $250,000 worth of donations and when they came back home they brought back messages of gratitude from Texas.
Hundreds of thank you notes from the people of Texas were given to the firefighters who made the journey and say the gratitude was overwhelming to experience.
“Everywhere we went everybody was all over us hugging us, kissing us, telling us thank you, we appreciate it. We were able to make that big of a difference on the completely other end of the country which is awesome,” said Ryan Caulfield, of Beacon Hose Company 1.
He said they wanted to bring small town hospitality to big Texas after Hurricane Harvey.
It all started with one post on social media and grew to a 32-hour donation drive.
The community stepped up to fill two trailers.
“A lot of that stuff on there is from us. Families that donated, and obviously when it came back it was even more stuff on the side of the trailer from them. People in Texas writing messages to us and thanking us. To be able to give a little bit, that's what we're there for so very proud of them,” said Michael Lombardi, Seymour fire chief.
Along the way, the seven firefighters from Beacon Hose Company 1, and Citizens Engine Company 2 documented the Harvey relief effort, stopping at fire departments, and shelters to help displaced people and pets.
“It was like a war zone as our guys were saying. When people think of somebody losing everything absolutely everything, to see a storm like this take everything away from them, it was a little emotional I would say,” said Captain Cal Brennan, Beacon Hose Company 1.
The group of seven grew on the way back home to include one more: A dog rescued from the floodwaters of Houston now calling Connecticut home.
“I said if there was a right fit when we got down there we were going to bring one home and here she is. We're just glorified delivery drivers. All we did was drive a truck really. I would just hope that anybody would do that for us. Had the roles been reversed,” said Tod Nihill, of Citizens Engine Company 2.
The messages will be on display at Beacon Hose Company 1 for another week for all to see.
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