(WFSB) - Approaching 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, people are reminded of the heroism of first responders.

First responders telethon

Here is how to donate to the 3Cares for First Responders Telethon on Sept. 10 from noon until 6:30 p.m.

The firefighters, police officers, and EMS teams, among others, who are at the ready to help people they don't know in the worst moments of their lives, often putting their own lives at risk.

Channel 3 partnered with an organization called HeroFundUSA for a telethon, which runs on Friday from noon until 6:30 p.m., to raise funds to purchase items to keep first responders, Connecticut's heroes, safe.

People can donate three ways:

A donation of $19 or more each month will get donors a HeroFundUSA long-sleeve  t-shirt or hat.

$19 donation to HeroFundUSA

"God put first responders in our world to do what others either can't do or shouldn't do,” said Darrell Smith, CEO of HeroFundUSA. “They face hazards every day that we cannot, as a citizen, cannot begin to understand what they face." 

Smith’s charity was founded specifically to support first responders.

Channel 3 partnered with an organization called HeroFundUSA for a telethon, which runs on Friday from noon until 6:30 p.m., to raise funds to purchase items to keep first responders, Connecticut's heroes, safe.

"Our mission is to make sure that the first responders have everything they need so they get to go home to their loved ones after they're done protecting, and helping our friends and neighbors and our families and things,” Smith said.

Founded in 2016 in the midwest, the organization said it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, which have been given to police departments, fire departments and emergency medical responders through grants.

“Some of the things we've provided in the past nearly five years now include low-tech things, basics like turnout gear or bunker gear that a firefighter wears going into an active fire scene, including the helmets, the coats, the pants, the boots, etcetera.  Rescue gear [too],” Smith said.

Chief Steven Shaumeyer of the Birmingham, MO Volunteer Fire Department applied for one of those grants.

HeroFundUSA

"We received a grant for $7500 for five sets of bunker gear,” Shaumeyer said. “The Birmingham Fire Department is a small volunteer department in the Kansas City metro area of Missouri, and we have about a $16,000 a year budget. As you can imagine, operating a fire department on a $16,000 a year budget is extremely difficult and we rely on grants, especially grants through organizations like HeroFund to be able to provide the services we provide."

HeroFundUSA grants have also funded swift water rescue gear for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in Kansas and drones for the Lee's Summit Police Department in Missouri.

"We've provided seven drones, funding for seven drones, for various law enforcement and fire departments and things like that and those are important because a drone can fly over and into an active crime scene or an active fire scene,” Smith said. “And, and the operator of the drone can see where the hazards lie and, and where there are people that may need help and support and unfortunately, at times, where the bad guys are, too."

Approaching 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, people are reminded of the heroism of first responders.

Up until this May, HeroFundUSA was focused on fundraising for first responders in Kansas and Missouri, the group's home base.  The charity is now expanding, with the mission of helping first responders across the country, including those in Connecticut.  

“Coincidentally, the first two requests we received for our assistance with funding new safety equipment came from Connecticut,” Smith said. “[There was] one from a department in North Stonington.  And another one from Cromwell.  Both fire departments."

Any money raised in Connecticut stays in Connecticut.

The hope is people will help not just to get these two local grants funded this Friday, but will help raise extra money to fund future grants to protect even more first responders in Connecticut through HeroFundUSA.

“We know we cannot avert every tragedy, but if we can save one life in the lifespan of our organization, and we hope that 100 years from now we're still talking about HeroFundUSA, but if we can save one life through it all, everything's been worth it,” Smith said.

Channel 3’s telethon begins during the noon news on Friday and will continue throughout the day, ending at 6:30 p.m.

More information about HeroFundUSA can be found on its website here.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(2) comments

SunnyDay

Why??? Because there's no money for them in Byeden's $3.5T spending plan...

Midterms = BYEden!

Verdad

Adding to the discussion I see. With all your free time you should get vaccinated and contribute to society.

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